Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
- ROM, ukemi
- Tegatana with emphasis on hip-width steps
- Hanasu with emphasis on synching and moving with uke – particularly on #2 and #4
- Preview of floating throws – kotetaoshi, maeotoshi, sumiotoshi (& variants), hikitaoshi. I let Kel do most of the reps of these things so he could get the feel of the motion and so I could do some ukemi.
- Review of Kel’s rank material – elbow techniques – oshitaoshi, udegaeshi, hikitaoshi, udehineri (& variants), wakigatame (& variants)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- ROM, ukemi with emphasis on falling/rolling as natural extension of a step that has been extended as in a floating throw
- tegatana with emphasis on constant, standard-sized steps as opposed to extended (floating) steps
- hanasu with emphasis on tori blending, following, and extending one of uke's steps. We especially worked this idea with releases #2 and #4 because these are the releases that set up the floating throws at the end of Nijusan.
- Floating throws including kotetaoshi, maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, and hikiotoshi. Because of Patrick's 1-armed aiki, there appears to be only one of the sumiotoshi variants that he ever gets into and he is unable to do hikiotoshi without great modification. He ends up doing a guruma version of ushiroate from owaza in place of hikiotoshi and it works great! We played with tenchinage as a variant of sumiotoshi a little bit.
- Cool technique of the night was suwariwaza menuchi tekubiosae.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Blood is pooled in the internal organs, pulled away from the limbs. Your legs and arms may feel weak and cold and clumsy. You may not be able to feel your fingers and you will not be able to use some "fine motor skills," the precision grips and strikes necessary for some styles such as Aikido... (p59)
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
One of the concepts that Rory goes into great detail on is what he calls the Four Basic Truths of Violent Assault. That is, violence happens...
- with less warning...
- and with greater power...
Well, the potential impact of those four truths upon your martial art could fill a book. In fact, it did fill a book. Rory Miller's Meditations on Violence. I highly recommend that anyone interested in the self-defense aspects of martial arts purchase a copy of this book to read and re-read.
More review to come tomorrow...
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Get used to being hit, and get used to being touched, especially on the face. For various reasons, face contact between adults is loaded with connotations. Accidental face contact almost always results in both students freezing and can cause outpouring of emotional sludge. Criminals use this by starting with an open-handed strike to the face (called a "bitch slap") that has paralyzing psychological effects. (p118)
- It was well-attended. I was able to identify Madison Wrestling and Team Hopkins players. I also saw folks there from Brookhaven, Hazelhurst, Meridian, and of course, from McComb.
- The grappling I saw seemed to be mostly won on points rather than submissions. There was relatively little clearly-defined technical grappling.
- Again, just in the part I watched, there was almost no throws or takedowns. folks ended up on the mat either by mutual consent (they just knelt into the ground) or they fumbled a leg pick and ended up falling into a non-dominant position.
- I don't think I saw anyone choked to submission, though there were a lot of rear-naked chokes thrown as well as some guillotines and sleeve-wheel chokes. Funny thing - folks kept slipping out of these chokes. I'm not sure if it's because these competitors were that good at defending chokes or if they were that bad at applying them?
- The three skills you go to a grappling tournament to see: throws, chokes, and jointlocks. There were no attacks to the leg joints thrown at all, and there were no successful armlocks in the matches I saw.
- Lest I sound negative, let me re-iterate: it was a pretty good tournament - well attended, well-referreed, good attitudes from the competitors, and nobody got hurt (that I saw). That makes for a good day of fun.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
- ROM, ukemi
- tegetana with emphasis on how shifting how you think about the rhythm of the exercise changes what you get from the exercise.
- hanasu with emphasis on the flow: R1↔R2↔R6. R1 (or R3) is sort of a prelude to all of the releases, with R6 (or R8) being a little curlycue on the end that is sometimes required to make the release work (almost an afterthought). So R1↔R2↔R6 and R3↔R4↔R8 make great flow exercises that seem to work on a lot of of the types of motions that occur in aikido. We also got to play with ushiroate and aikinage in the context of R1↔R2↔R6.
- shomenate and aigamaeate with emphasis on moving offline using the cowcatcher.
- oshitaoshi and udegaeshi with emphasis on stepping aside when you meet resistance. There is a lot going on in udegaeshi...
As a lifelong martial arts instructor, I know that while traditional training can bring many benefits, it is also a double-edged sword.
When abused or misunderstood, or when seen as a way to power and control, martial arts can bring harm and regret to the unfortunate practitioner. Undoubtedly, martial arts training has strong potential physical and mental influence -- for both good and evil -- on students. The mental influence does not come from movements but from an individual instructor.
This is why it is critical that any student (or the parents of any student) must consider carefully, above all else, what kind of individual one would study with for mental and spiritual guidance and influence.
A tournament, sport, and sparring-oriented instructor will teach values such as aggression, dominance, and mental focus on one thing above all else: winning the match and taking home the trophy. To achieve the mental strength and focus required to triumph above all competitors is a great achievement of athletics. But pursuit of this goal and these values can rarely come without scorning development of humility, patience, respect, and sincerity. Those contrary, aggressive traits do not have to be spoken aloud for their influence to be felt in students' lives.
Unfortunately, although martial art movements do not develop aggressive personality traits, some organizations' consistent over-emphasis on competition has resulted in a negative, harmful spiritual environment in martial arts dojangs.
The instructor interested in assisting students become better human beings, build their characters, develop self-esteem, confidence, sincerity, humility and responsibility is not likely to have trophies lining the front windows of his school. In a traditional class, the visitor is much more likely to see emphasis on formality, etiquette, non-violent behavior, full control of techniques, forms of old Grandmasters, student cleaning of the dojang, and a Training Hall Oath.
Instruction which only teaches the physical, technical side of martial arts, in order to fight and win tournament trophies, will turn out violent people with troublemaker attitudes. Traditional values and a scientific teaching method will shepherd students' bodies, while instilling virtues of sincere attitude, confidence, self-esteem, and modesty. Such traditional training will produce a mentally and physically balanced person. A scientific teaching method entails (among other things) proper breathing, rhythm, dynamic balance, and movements which are studied and refined to allow the maximization of speed and power without causing either sudden or progressive injury to the body.
What strengths or virtues do you think your martial arts practice has developed within you? How does your training or environment promote these virtues or strengths? Do you think your training has contributed to overdevelopment of any particular aspect of your personality?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
- ROM, ukemi
- tegatana emphasizing walking on the balls of the first two rays of the feet. Also looking for the combinations of moves that can be trailed together into one long French Curve.
- hanasu with emphasis on following uke's curve on #6 and #8 instead of picking some arbitrary place to turn and forcing ukke into your curve.
- shomenate with emphasis on getting the initial offbalance right on the initial footfall.
- aigamaeate with emphasis on checking the elbow to keep the knife hand off you as you push him down. We were getting a little bit more vigorous falling practice with aigamae today than usual - it was good!
- Chains: R1→oshitaoshi; R1→R5→tenkai kotehineri; R1→R5→kotehineri; R1→R5→kote mawashi oshitaoshi→hikitaoshi→ushiroate. On these we were emphasizing letting the motion of the bodies tear uke's grip apart and tori just closing his hand on whatever he happened to have. This way there is no fine motor skill or specialized gripping required.
Ran across some interesting information on Kiai from Kanemoto Sunadomari in the Aiki News #83 (January 1990). He was discussing the Shinto theory of Kotodama, the study of the physical effects of sounds. Sunadomari mentions three Kiai sounds used by budoka, "Ya", "To" and "ei". "Ya" and "To" are found in the partner practices of Iai and in the Kendo no Kata exercises. Uchidachi (the initiator), strikes decisively with "Ya". Shidachi (the finisher), avoids and responds with the last strike and with "To". Kotodama theory states that the effects of a sound will be different depending if one is using In or Yo (Yin or Yang).
"Ya", used in the Yo manner means that one is covering something from the outside, (one is smothering the opponent). When it is used in the In manner "Ya" means to pierce something from the inside out. "To" means a conclusion, in Kotodama it means stopping, staying, passing through, or escaping in any direction. On a purely physical level, "Ya" contains a stop of the breath, one closes the throat and maintains air in the lungs for further action. With "To" the sound can be maintained until the breath is gone. One sound means the fight continues, the other that it is over.
The sound "e" means to cleave, to split the enemy. When it is used in the Yo manner it is the Kokoro (spirit) that divides and allots, it also has the meaning of happiness. When it is used with In, it is the Kokoro that receives what has been divided and allotted, it means "to scoop out". When it is linked with evil "e" can be used to scatter and destroy an enemy. In a real dual one uses "ei" to smash down the opponent.
For many years I used "U" as a kiai in Tae Kwon Do. This has a meaning of great effort, it is the sound from the bottom of the hara when lifting a great weight. No wonder my katas seemed ponderous and heavy. With "e" the sound can be longer than "ei" and the stop of breath is not as decisive. This may be why a swordsman uses "ei" in a real duel and not "e" since "e" could allow too much breath to be lost. "U" of course, is a complete and fast expulsion of all breath from the hara, it opens the throat and the lungs together. There is never any breath remaining after using this Kiai so one is completely open (and perhaps vulnerable, in "suki").
Monday, July 14, 2008
- Power depends upon a base of power. To exert you have to plant your feet. If it doesn’t work it sticks you in place. This gives uke a specific, directed force to adapt and respond to. Uke can actually use your strength and power as a crutch if your angle and timing is not quite right. Applying power can make it easier for uke to pull you down with him.
- Power is addictive. If a little power isn’t enough, you naturally think of adding more strength first. This leads to escalation of the conflict.
- You never know if you are powerful enough to overcome your enemy. This leads to a struggle to gain more and more personal power and there is no upper limit in this kind of power struggle. Weakness as a virtue, however, does have a limit – zero power. You never know if you can over-power an enemy but you can know for absolute certain that you are able to under-power any opponent.
Friday, July 11, 2008
To spend even a few minutes around wrestling is to understand one of its immutable laws: People get hurt. This isn’t by accident; it’s by design... [These arts] inflict immense amounts of pain and suffering ..., often by means that look outright cruel but in fact are the product of months of hard labor spent in perfecting the technical aspects ... If you should quit, be it mentally or physically, and you are still at some indeterminate midpoint ... then you stand roughly a 99% chance of getting hurt. (Mark Kreidler, Four Days to Glory)
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only. Do not mistake any of this information for advice.
Martial arts training is a physical contact activity in which there is risk to the participants. Practice is frequently very physically strenuous and mentally and emotionally challenging. Participation can result in injuries or damages of any sort, including permanent disability, deformity, or death. Sometimes the risks are not even foreseeable by trained experts.
It would be wise of you to obtain the help of a qualified instructor and have a physician examine you and clear you for strenuous physical contact activity before you try any of these very dangerous activities. Always inspect the practice area, the equipment, your partners, and yourself for risks before starting. Your participation is voluntary, so if you see something that you think is unsafe you should immediately tell the instructor and decline to participate in that activity. Always work within your own limits.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
I had an instructor tell me one time , “You can’t just ‘yo’, you have to ‘yo-yo’” What that instructor was saying was this: you can’t make a yo-yo or slinky or a pendulum work at any arbitrary speed you want. They only work at their own innate frequency. Notice how, in the end of the video here, the smaller slinky has a different frequency from the larger ones. You can’t make a larger slinky perform like a smaller one no matter how much energy you put into it. It just has a different speed of oscillation to it.
People are the same way. You can’t make any given person move at an arbitrarily fast speed no matter how much energy you impart to them. As a martial example, grab a partner in a double lapel grab and throttle him back and forth as hard and fast as you can. It is uncomfortable and unpleasant for uke, but you’re not really moving them much. Each time you push and he gets ready to start moving, all of a sudden now you are pulling and you cancel his impulse out. You use a lot of energy and don’t really move him much. Now, grab him and start rocking him like you would rock a pendulum or swing a child on a swing set. Each time he gets into a certain phase with you, push a little to amplify his movement. Pretty soon he is sailing all over the mat because you are moving at his frequency, lightly bumping him every so often.
Not only do our bodies work at a certain speed, but our minds do too. Try counting in your head, “1,2,3…” to ten. Now do it faster. Keep trying faster and you will find a point that you just can’t go faster. That speed limit is much slower than the speed of neurons firing, so what is slowing the count down? Subvocalizations - microscopic jaw and throat movements. As you think about a number, your muscles in your jaw and throat begin getting ready in case you are going to say it. This happens whenever we think because we can’t think outside of our language. The bottom line – you can’t move your jaw muscles as fast as you might want, so you can’t think (i.e. count in your head) as fast as you’d like either.
You can't just yo.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
- Folk's expectations going into a practice have a lot to do with the outcome. Today I think Andy came to class expecting to suck and be frustrated, and for me to grumble at him about it. Sure enough, he was stiff and rough. But we did randori naming the release motions being played to give his conscious mind something to do besides whipping his subconscious mind and within about 10 minutes he was doing great aikido. Good, light, smooth, flowing, etc... Maybe the best aikido I've ever seen Andy do.
- ROM, tegatana, releases, chain #1
- Andy uked for me doing all of nijusan and I uked for him doing 1-10 before we ran out of time and steam. The thing to remember on nijusan is to get all the pieces in there before going on to the next thing. It is easy to get too focussed on flow, and end up with a clumsy blur. Flow will come if you put all the pieces in there.
Friday, July 04, 2008
- 31 - Number of places nationwide with “liberty” in their name. The most populous one as of July 1, 2006, is Liberty, Mo. (29,581). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
- Thirty-one places are named “eagle” — after the majestic bird that serves as our national symbol. (Places include cities, towns, villages and census-designated places.) The most populous such place is Eagle Pass, Texas, with 26,401 residents.
- Twelve places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Mo., with 109,400 residents.
- Nine places adopted the name “freedom.” Freedom, Calif., with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these.
- There is one place named “patriot” — Patriot, Ind., with a population of 192.
- And what could be more fitting than spending the Fourth of July in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, population 25,596.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
- closer than you are accustomed to dealing with
- faster than you are accustomed to dealing with
- more suddenly than you are accustomed to dealing with
- and with greater force than you are accustomed to dealing with
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
- ROM, ukemi (Rick looks like he's feeling more comfortable with the side and turn-back rolls)
- tegatana with emphasis on making the backward turning steps shallower to minimize the cross-legged weakness in the middle. We also paid attention to trying to find subsequent motions matching the natural rhythm of the body. For example, the "reaching around in front and push up to the side" is not two separate moves but an arc (or french curve) that your arm is descriving and which your body has to follow.
- hanasu & chain #1
- Nijusan #6, 7, and 8 with emphasis on the forms of pinning on the ends of these kata
- suwari menuchi tekubiosae with pin
Someone asked me a while back to post what I consider to be pros and cons of aikido and judo – sort of what I like and dislike about aiki...
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