Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Owaza Jupon



Here's a couple more of my students working on Owaza Jupon (10 major throws) from a 2-hand grab entry. I think you'll notice that the exercise flows something like this...

  • Uke grabs and tori demonstrates 2 basic themes - turning uke into a backfall (guruma; A.K.A. tenchinage) or stretching him out into a linear fall (otoshi).
  • After this, uke grabs and will not allow the previous tenchinage, so tori grabs the arm wherever he can and turns for the other 2 forms of guruma, which look a lot like seoinage.
  • The iriminage is missing from this video, but you see the shihonage and ushiroate and kotegaeshi that are characteristic of Owaza and also similar to Koryu Dai Go.
  • The shortcut from iriminage into ushiro kubigatame
  • shizumiotoshi - clipping a knee if nothing else works



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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obviously flawed

So, which way do you duck on shizumiotoshi?  Or, put another way, if you were going to knee-clip someone lunging at you, would you rather clip their front knee or their back knee?  I mentioned in a conversation on YouTube that I'd go for the front knee, like my students demoed on their video and like Kyle does here:



...and Sensei Strange replied that this was flawed and obviously not so good - that you want to go for the back leg like Kyle does here...



Well, Strange, you had me doubting myself there for a few minutes.  I was asking myself, "Where in the world did I get such nutty ideas?"  So I went back to my sources.
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KG, on his instructional video in which LF and Craig demo the Owaza, explicitly says, and emphasizes it over and over, "Aim for the front, unmoving knee so you don't get kicked in the head."  I want to say I've also heard Henry emphasize this in his seminars at MSU, but I don't have video to prove it.
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Of course, KG et al. might not be your ultimate resource, so I went back to Lee Ah Loi's blue kata book and skimmed through it looking for anything roughly like this thing that's in Owaza (anything named sukuinage or senkuinage or tenkai seukui nage, etc...) and found that with the possible exception of one clip in Nikata, all the clips and scoops are done to the front, weightbearing, unmoving leg.
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So my ideas are not necessarily all that obviously flawed.   At least if they are flawed, I'm in pretty good company. ;-)
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You've got a good point, Strange, about the dangerousness of this technique.  There is the potential for injury to whichever knee you clip, even if you do the back knee.  That is why we take precautions:

  • Don't do this thing in randori - only in kata and only with a partner who knows it's coming
  • Don't go fast - slower is safer
  • Don't deliberately try to lock out his knee - drop in front of his knee, perhaps not even touching his leg, but keep in mind that in a bad spot you could have dropped on the knee.
  • Don't try to make these things look like some imagined conception of "reality."  Trying to make these things look more realistic is a great way to get hurt or hurt someone else.

I think the most surprising thing you said, Strange, in your comment, was that you could cover your head with your hand to keep from getting kicked.  Really?  You'd jump headfirst into a knee strike from a guy who is lunging at you, confident that you could block that knee?  You're a ninja for sure.  I'm slow and I'd sure rather hide my head beside the guy's weightbearing, unmoving leg.
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I'm enjoying this conversation with you and Kyle.  I think you and Kyle both have great knowledge and skill and interesting POV's on this thing.  I guess the bottom line is, like Kyle said, you can do it either way, and he didn't say one was right and the other wrong, just that they demonstrate different principles or different degrees of otoshi and guruma.
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So, anyone else have an opinion or idea about this sort of movement?  Leave me a comment and share.


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On the flip side...


Photo courtesy of Stephen Poff
The interaction of our natural side-preference with the aikido and judo techniques is interesting.  I've written about this before.  Aikido (the way we teach it) is mostly evenly balanced left-and-right up till about shodan, at which point the exercises and kata tend to only be done on one side.  In judo we almost exclusively teach right-sided techniques.  it turns out that neither system is incomplete if it is done one-sided.
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But in demonstrations and quick examples where I'm showing something to the class, I almost always choose my preferred side (right side) just for convenience and comfort.
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I've decided to make January 2010 Left-handed martial arts month.  At our dojo we will only practice left-sided aikido and judo.  No right-sided practice.  Should be interesting.  Anyone want to take up this challenge with me and see what comes of it?  Nick?  Strange?  Dojo Rat? Anyone?


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Kyuzo Mifune Goshin Jutsu

Interesting alternate form of Goshin Jutsu from Kyuzo Mifune.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The otoshi and the guruma that aren't

The other day, in our explorations of otoshi and guruma in judo and in aikido, we came across a couple of interesting examples of otoshi and guruma.  Interesting in that they really suck as examples of these two types of motion.  Kataguruma doesn't appear to have much to do with guruma motion and shizumiotoshi doesn't seem to have much to do with otoshi.  I sure would like some of you smart folks to tell me what makes kataguruma a guruma when it feels so much like an otoshi?



And shizumiotoshi feels really guruma, so why is it an otoshi?


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Monday, December 21, 2009

ABG 2009 - Sessions 7 and 8

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to see my aiki buddies this past few days and getting to work in such detail on my avorite of all the aikido exercises - Owaza Jupon

  • Session 7 - Owaza from the classical lunging through ma-ai attack.
  • Session 8 - Owaza from ryotemochi attack.

Lord, deliver me from any more budo this year!
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 6

Perhaps we picked too much material for this clinic - We'd intended to do sankata and owaza, but we've made such a meal out of owaza that we ended up not spending much time on sankata. Tonight's session was sankata section A - suwariwaza
  • oshitaoshi
  • gyakugamaeate
  • kotegaeshi
  • sukuinage
  • tenkai kotehineri
  • shihonage
  • gedanate
  • hijikime

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 5 - video

Warmed up with ryotemochi tenchinage and then played all the Owaza material from ryotemochi.  This is really a fabulous way to reduce the intensity of the exercise so that you can work on this material without taking so much punishment from the ukemi.  Good way to focus on the concepts surrounding Owaza - namely otoshi and guruma.




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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

ABG 2009 - Session 4

Warmed up with an easy version of guruma - ryotemochi tenchinage, then moved into the second half of Owaza - the SUKUS techniques:

  • shihonage
  • ushiroate
  • kotegaeshi
  • ushiro kubigatame
  • shizumiotoshi

This was followed by a super-fun session of standing judo randori.  I started seeing koshiguruma popping up in randori from having practiced it earlier today!
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ABG 2009 - Session 3

Warmed up with an otoshi-guruma version of kotegaeshi then moved into Owaza working on the gurumas from the POV of throwing with progressively greater slack between uke and tori.

  • kubiguruma
  • udeguruma
  • hijiguruma
  • kataguruma

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 2

Warmed up with the guruma entry for the floating throws from junana, then moved into the otoshi-guruma concept:

  • kata otoshi
  • kubiguruma
  • koshiguruma
  • ashiguruma
  • hizaguruma
  • taiotoshi

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 1

Everyone is going to be dragging into the ABG this year on different days.  Last night we had a nice 2-hour practice but we decided to wait till this morning to get cranked up on the sankata and owaza, so last night we worked on wrist control techniques from junana and previewed the guruma action that we'll be warming up with today.

  • kotehineri (sankyo)
  • kotegaeshi
  • tenkai kotehineri (sankyo)
  • shihonage
  • guruma offbalance from ukiwaza


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Iron Man 2 - I can hardly wait!


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Get outta the way!


Photo courtesy of Oncle Tom
The first, and most important pre-requisite to doing good aikido is to get out of the way of the attacker.  Sometimes we refer to this as tai sabaki (body shifting), sometimes we call it the aiki brushoff, and sometimes we just say, "Get outta the way," but however you say it, you have to do it or your aiki is going to suck.
  • The line of attack - If you wait until the moment the attacker commits to his attack, then draw a line between your center and his,  this is called the line of attack.  Getting off of the line of attack is the most important part of every technique.  We can teach you all the intricate aikido moves in the world, but until you start getting out of the attacker's way, nothing will ever work right for you.
  • The shoulder/hip test - Here's a test to see if tori is really getting off the line of attack.  Uke, after the first step of your attack, when you have lunged through ma-ai, see if you can touch tori with your shoulder or your hip.  If so, he's not out of your way.  Keep practicing until there is no way uke can touch you with his hip or shoulder after your evasion.
  • Evasion is vital for smaller aikidoka - This is important for everyone but it is vital for the smaller, weaker tori.  You absolutely do not want to grapple with a larger person, and the first part of learning not to fight the big-guy's fight is to learn to get out of his way.
  • Evasion is vital for larger aikidoka - It is also important for the larger, stronger tori if you are ever going to learn to do good aiki without having to fall back on your superior strength and mass.
So, get outta the way!  Do it every time before you do anything else!

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Cross-over points in kata


Photo courtesy of Szift
Another interesting thing about kata practice is what I call cross-over points.  There are places where the flow of one kata intersects with the flow of another one.  I'm sure you've noticed this - you'll be sailing along doing one kata and then you realize you ended up in some other kata.  Somehow ou just fell out of one kata into another one.
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This can be an anoying thing when you are working on learning one particular kata, but it can also be an interesting, valuable thing if you take a broader perspective.  Each of these cross-over points represents an option, a fork in the road.
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An interesting thing to do when your kata practice becomes stale, is start doing one kata, and whenever you get to a cross-over point, take it.   You might set a timer for 5 minutes and do kata the whole time, meandering through your kata set taking one alternate fork after another. 
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Doing this, you can start to see all of your individual kata as parts of one giant, mixed-up kata with wormholes from one place to another and cross-over points scattered throughout.  It is as if this one giant kata is your hometown, and you might walk around town taking different paths every day.  You might behave differently as you walk through some parts of your hometown than you do in others.  But they are all still your hometown.
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Learning your way around this one giant hometown kata is an important skill.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Monday, December 14, 2009

December 2009 misc video


Some of the stuff we've been working on in aikido and judo classes at Mokuren Dojo this past month or so.  Enjoy.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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SCAMPER technique for creative kata bunkai


Photo courtesy of BLMurch
There has always been, and always will be controversy about whether kata is vital or useless in martial arts practice. I like kata as a training method and consider it vital, but I'll readily admit that if it does have a problem, it is that done repititiously and mindlessly, kata rapidly becomes stale.
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You have to have kata practice, but not all of it should be kata-mode. At least some of your kata practice should include creative variation. Here is a good method to introduce some variability and some creativity to an otherwise stale kata practice. It is called the SCAMPER method.
  • S - Substitute. Try swapping logical moves in and out. For instance, anywhere there is a lunge punch, try a triple-punch or a frontkick-lunge punch combo. It will put you in the same position ready to continue the kata but it will break up some of the stagnation in your mind and give you some new ideas.
  • C - Combine. Try combining 2-3 movements in a different way or try changing the timing between a couple of the movements of the kata.
  • A - Add. Try dropping a piece of another kata right in the middle of this one, then continuing where you left off. Practice your goshinjutsu (self-defense techniques) with your partner attacking you in the middle of a kata. Perform the goshinjutsu and then pick back where you left off on the kata.
  • M - Maximize or minimize. Make your steps and motions as large or as small as possible. Maximize or minimize the importance of any particular movement. Try tying an arm to your belt to minimize the movement on that side.
  • P - Put to another use. Reimagine obvious uses of movements. Something that you're sure is a lunge punch, figure out how it could be a grappling move. Something you're sure is a grappling move, reimagine as a pressure point technique.
  • E - Eliminate. Eliminate large chunks of the kata, reducing the remainder to a short drill that you can repeat many times in a short space. Eliminate extra weight shifts. Eliminate chambering punches. See what you end up with.
  • R - Rearrange or reverse. What if the order of the movements in the kata is not gospel? What if you step back here instead of forward? What if you turn left here instead of right? What if he grabs you in response to your punching him instead of you punching him because he grabbed you?
Whenever you get so accustomed to your kata that it starts getting tiresome, and you're sure that you have THE one and only correct bunkai that was handed down from God to the ancestors, try SCAMPERING the kata and you'll literally find a lifetime of study in any one kata (Remember Funakoshi even called Taikyoku, "The Universal kata").


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Friday, December 11, 2009

A judo Christmas song for Santa

In the tradition of A Mississippi Aikido Christmas Eve, and Ebony Hakama, this year I give you...

A Judo Christmas Song for Santa

I'm dreaming of a white dogi
The ones I wear once looked so nice.
But now yellow sweatstains,
Darkened bloodstains, and dirt
Don't come out in the wash.

I'm dreaming of a white dogi
With every judoka I grab.
My gi would be merry and bright
If I could turn my dogi back white

I'm dreaming of a white dogi
That would be such a pleasant gift.
A size-6 Mizuno, what a sight!
And please send my new dogi in WHITE.


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Something to consider

It helps for you to consider this sort of thing before you get into a violent encounter.
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What constitutes an attack that you are willing to use force to defend against? How bad does a problem have to get before you would use your martial arts skills to try to solve it? Where is the line beyond which you will no longer turn the other cheek?
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Hmmmm

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dreaming of wakigatame


My Latin teacher in high school told us that you never really know a language until you start dreaming in that language. Last night I dreamt that I was at some sort of martial arts seminar and the instructor kept building up to this super-mysterious technique. This amazing thing from historical European martial arts. Finally, when he showed the technique, it was a standing wakigatame falling with the guy into a side control (similar to the last example on the video above).
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I wonder if that means that I've mastered the "language" of martial arts, or just of wakigatame. Or perhaps it just means that I ate something unusual before bed last night...

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Legend of the Invincible Old Man

I was getting ready to post my latest article on martial arts urban legends. Today I was going to talk about what I call The Legend of the Invincible Old Man. You've heard it - the idea that there's this weak, out-of-shape, sickly, elderly man who is invincible against young, strong, fit experts. This legend is often used by young guys who want to justify lazy training, as if they are saying, "I don't have to remain fit because I want to be like that amazing, Invincible Old Man."
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I bet it's hard to find an Invincible Old Man who is impervious to cholesterol and high blood pressure, and I know for certain that you can't find an old man who is so awesome that he has transcended having to have enough strength and aerobic capacity to drag his butt out of bed to go to the toilet.
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That's what I was going to write about today, but then I remembered that Dave Chesser had written this very same article a couple of years ago on his Formosa Neijia blog. It was actually a series of two articles, if I remember correctly. Anyway two articles was all I could find on the subject looking thru his archives...
I think Dave's point still stands - young men who want to claim that they are doing combatives or self-defense or martial arts for health benefits do not need to be training (only) like their ancient predecessors.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Mysterious, Amazing Sensei Legend


Photo courtesy of Okinawa Soba
I've been doing a series of articles on various myths or legends or apocryphal stories that circulate amongst martial artists. Here you can see my previous posts on the Legend of the 3000 Year Old Martial Art, the Legend of the 8000 Techniques, and the Champion-Buster Legend. Today I'd like to talk about a super-common story that I like to call The Legend of The Mysterious, Amazing Sensei.
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I'm sure you've heard this one. Someone tells you a handful of anecdotes about things their amazing sensei did. He was a ninja warrior, a Vietnam vet who pulled someone's heart our with his bare hands, a Navy SEAL (It's amazing how many ex-SEALS I've met. They must all retire to my area!), counter-terrorist, studied on the mountain with demons, etc... The only problem is this amazing man has died/moved to Tibet/transcended this dimension (choose one).
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The story almost always wraps up with something like, "Since my mysterious sensei was the greatest warrior ever, and since I'm his only living student, I am obviously the best sensei you could ever hope to have (so you'd better stay here and keep paying me big money instead of going and studying with those inferior guys.)" Anyone ever hear something like this one?
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If you're the type to believe this sort of story, I just happen to have the perfect product for you...



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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Helpful Handful: Breathing in Tegatana



Photo courtesy of Luna DiRimmel
The other day someone on a forum I read asked a question - basically, "What is the proper way to breathe during Tegatana no kata (our first kata - the walking exercise)?" They got several answers, none of which were wrong, but I thought I'd post my thinking on this subject here.
  • Breathe however you have to in order to avoid turning blue and passing out. Seems like a facetious answer, but it's only about half-smartalek. Your breathing is largely unconscious and your body can usually figure out pretty well how to entrain your breathing with your bodily motions.
  • A lot of people say exhale on the exertion and inhale on the recovery. But consider this - what part of the kata is the "exertion"? In the first two motions of the exercise, you step diagonally forward and then back to your starting point. Either of these can be the positive space in the kata, the thing you're actually practicing, so how do you know which to entrain your exhalation to?
  • Some people say exhale on the body drops and inhale on the body rises. This is okay also, and is basically just an alternative to the second point above. Here you treat each body motion as positive space, so you exhale as you drop forward, inhale as your recovery foot comes up under you, then exhale and inhale again as you step back to the origin. This is a good way to slow your kata way down because otherwise you'll hyperventillate and get dizzy.
  • Notice that abdominal breathing goes with slower, extending forward motions, while chest and shoulder breathing tends to go with quick retracting motions. Try as an experiment, snatching a breath as fast as you can and see don't you feel it in chest and neck and shoulders. Then breathe more slowly and see don't you feel it as more diaphragmatic and abdominal.
  • I like to play with different breathing patterns during the kata because this often suggests different applications for each motion in the exercise. When you change your breathing pattern, the same kata motions will take on wholly new meanings to you. There's not a proper way to do it, so play with different methods and mine the kata for alternative meanings.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Psy-ki-do at Kris Wilder's blog!

Somebody smart told me a while back, that in any self-defense encounter, two fights will occur; one fight between the attacker and the defender, and the other fight between the winner and the loser's lawyer.
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Today I'm guest posting on Kris Wilder's awesome blog, The Striking Post, and my topic is how to defend yourself while simultaneously using Psy-ki-do to help prepare any witnesses to testify in your favor.  Watch out, though.  This is a really cool and interesting psy-ki-do trick, but it might require you to re-think and re-tool some of your ideas about how your martial art works in a self-defense situation.
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Check it out at The Striking Post!
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Karate vs. Kung Fu

Wim posted this today on his blog, which reminded me of a story.  Seems about 22 years ago I was a hottie!  I had trained in TKD and karate and I worked out all the time.  I had done some competition and had had some successes.
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I was at a tournament in Biloxi - and I was a green belt.  They put me in a ring with a kung fu guy wearing the cool-looking black and white sleeveless kung fu suit with the frog buttons and a gold sash (don't have a clue what that gold sash signifies).  Anyway, I was in the zone and they called go and I took a step in.  My strategy in those days was to control the center of the ring so I'd have more space to move and I could force the opponent to work the edges and maybe take a penalty or two.  Anyway, I stepped in and took control of the center of the ring...
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And dude put a spinning hook kick on my temple and knocked me silly.  Stars and fireworks and everything!  I was astounded because the guys I'd been working out with, both karate and TKD, weren't able to do a good spinning hook until purple or brown belt.  I dragged myself back to the starting line, sure that this was going to be a long, hard time with me getting my butt kicked.
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The referree called go again, and I stepped in and dude threw another spinning hook that whooshed past my face barely missing me as I beat a hasty retreat.  Then I got an idea!  I stepped in, almost to his kick range, and whoosh!  Another spinning hook kick.  I stepped back, and then stepped at him and whoosh!  Another spinning hook.
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It's literally the only technique this nutjob knew how to do!
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Needless to say, after I read this guy's playbook, I came back from being 2 points down and humiliated to win the match by a 10-point spread.  I hammered him with reverse punches in the ribs and kidneys every time that hook kick whooshed past me.  I got a dozen reverse punches in on this guy during the time limit.
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So, all this is not to say that Kung Fu guys suck just because that one did.  I'd say that Wim has some pretty good commentary - especially about versatility over at his blog - go check it out.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tanjojutsu for real



Photo courtesy of Pay no Mind
Here's an interesting thing regarding the history of tantojutso (a walking-cane adjunct to SMR jojutsu). Note: I'm no historian and I read this history with a skewed view. This is not gospel, and if I can post this without getting ridiculed by the Koryu snobs, I'll consider myself lucky. It's interesting nonetheless. Read with me between the lines of the following (adapted from the Wikipedia article on Tanjojutsu)...
After the Meiji Restoration in 1869 ... Japan [introduced] ... European clothes as a popular new choice of wardrobe. Among the things that were imported, the western style walking stick ... quickly became a very popular item in Japan, especially for former samurai who were not allowed to wear swords anymore as a sign of their high status ... In 1885, Uchida Ryogoro, who was a student of Shinto Muso-ryu (jodo), devised a new set of self-defence techniques for the tanjo [Western-style walking stick] drawn primarily from existing jodo techniques...and organized into a system which was named Uchida-ryū Tanjōjutsu.
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This tells me that tanjojutsu was designed for people who were not crippled. The samurai (and other bigwigs) carried Western-style walking sticks as status symbols - sort of a combination of, "Look at how modern and stylish I am," and, "I might not have a sword but you'd still better not screw with me!"

If you were to attempt to pick up tanjojutsu as part of a real self-defense cane system for people who actually carry a cane because they really need it, then it seems to me the techniques would likely have to be modified from their original form. You would have to remove all of the elements that a strong man with healthy legs could do but that a man with a ruined leg or two might not be able to do. What might these modifications look like?
  • shorter, lighter, slower stepping - no lunging and certainly no lunging into a kneeling position
  • the above would necessitate a more acute practice and knowledge of ma-ai
  • hold the cane in the proper hand to support the bad leg - don't define the stick to always be in tori's right hand
  • push back off of uke after every technique instead of standing in zanshin assuming you've destroyed the threat
One of the interesting things about jo work in SMR that carried over into tanjojutsu is that the attacker is always armed with a sword. This was, perhaps, functional self-defense when jojutsu was invented, but swords were disallowed by the time of development of jodo and tanjojutsu. So, why have the bad guy attack with a sword?
  • It's sort of dishonorable-feeling to beat up an unarmed guy using a stick, although that might be reasonable and defensible for someone who actually needs a cane to walk.
  • The sword is a 3-foot long knife. If you let that guy within reach of you then you are in deep trouble. By arming the opponent with such an awesome weapon - a weapon with such fearsome potential, the tanjo-guy is forced to become sharper. He must do everything just right or he will be cut.
So, if I were to attempt to pick up tanjojutsu as a self-defense thing, I'd keep the swordsman as the attacker, but it would probably be wise to do some of the cane-vs-empty hand stuff from hanbojutsu or aikijo.

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The penultimate self-defense technique

This is one of the greatest self-defense videos I've seen in a long time - The ultimate martial arts self-defense technique is demonstrated starting at 0:49.  Well, at least the penultimate SD technique.  This is the ultimate, best martial arts technique of all.  But still... check out this video and marvel at this master's prowess!

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Psy-ki-do: psychic blood and gore!

Today I'm guest blogging at Marks' Blog!  Hop on over there and check it out for another crazy Psy-ki-do idea.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Legend of the 3000 year-old martial art

I'm sure you've heard this one. "My martial art was invented 3000 years ago and used by noble warrior-monks, who passed it down in an unbroken lineage to us today." The next part of the legend (sometimes implied, but often explicit) is that all other martial arts are inferior, diluted subsets derived from our 3000 year-old martial art. Thus, our 3000 year-old martial art is the best around so you'd better keep paying your dues here and not go study somewhere else.
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Think about it some. You don't have to be a history major...
  • Per Wikipedia, Kalari (claimed by some to be the oldest Eastern martial art) dates all the way back to the 1100's AD (that's only 900 years ago).
  • Chinese martial arts (though there are certainly differences of opinion) are thought to be derivatives of Kalari, so that makes them less than 900 years old.
  • The Chinese are thought to have influenced the development of Japanese, Okinawan, and other SE Asian martial arts, so these are even younger. Karate was exported from Okinawa to Japan in the early 1900's. Taekwando is a Korean brandname of Japanese karate, so it's later than that.  Judo was invented in the 1880's and none of the Koryu ("ancient") Jujitsu styles were too much older. Aikido coalesced into a thing of its own in the 1920's.
  • Of course there were other non-asian heritages. You can find some evidence for European and Scandinavian martial arts dating back to the Dark Ages but the evidence for ancient European and African martial arts is limited.
  • And all this talk about whose martial art is older is kinda stupid anyway.  People have been fighting since there was 2 people and one thing to eat.  And any time some warriors are more successful than others, the successful warriors' technique will be studied, systematized, and eventually turned into artform.
So, when someone tells you that their martial art is 3000 years old and is the mother of all martial arts, they are either part of a kool aid kult, or they want to be the leader of a kool aid kult with you as their follower.
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And besides, who ever said that jump-kicking knights off of horseback has any relevance in today's world?
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Psy-ki-do - Guest post at Dojo Rat


Photo courtesy of Dojo Rat (I don't know where he got it)
Ooh, check me out!  I'm guest posting at Dojo Rat's blog today.  Hop on over and see what you can make of my crazy ideas about psy-ki-do!
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Legend of the 8000 techniques

Some time back I was surfing and came across an aikido school boasting that they taught their students more than 8000 techniques! Wow! That seems like a lot of value for your money. Tomiki schools (including mine) only teach about 30 unique techniques. Seems like there's no way that someone from the School of 30 Techniques could stand up against someone from the School of 8000 Techniques! Is there?
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Maybe there is. Suppose you get about 3 hours practice per week, drilling 6 techniques per hour. If you don't repeat or revisit or review any techniques, then it would take 8000/18 weeks to spend 10 minutes on each technique. That is, it would take you 8.5 years to get 10 minutes practice time on each thing in the system.
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So, who do you want to bet on? Someone who has tried to learn something for 10 minutes some six or eight years ago, or someone who has spent the same 8.5 years learning and reviewing and experimenting with and delving deeply into 30 things?
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Of course, the schools that claim to teach 8000 techniques don't really practice all those things.  There's no way they could.  That's just a ridiculous lie.  They practice the same things that the guys at The School of 30 Techniques practice.
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So, who would you rather deal with - someone who lies to you about what they're teaching or someone who tells you straight out, "I only have about 30 things to teach you?"

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Intro to psy-ki-do


Inspired by The Men Who Stare at Goats, for the next week or so I'll be writing a series of articles on what I'm calling Psy-ki-do. Sort of the soft science, pseudo-science, or psychological side of combative arts. The first post is already available at my newsletter - if you missed signing up for that, you can catch this newsletter at the archive here, and you can sign up for the upcoming newsletters here.
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Upcoming psy-ki-do ideas include...
  • how to trick an attacker into total commitment (a dream come true for aikidoka)
  • how to sap the opponent's will to fight by making him think you are a predator and making him feel like your prey
  • how to be a better instructor by getting in synch with your students

 
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Southhampton aikido practice

I enjoyed this video a lot.  Not all of it is as I would choose to practice it, but that doesn't make it bad or anything.


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Early jujitsu video

Possibly the first video of jujitsu (judo) ever recorded!  Pretty cool stuff!

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Champion Buster Legend



Photo courtesy of Wendy Cooper
There are legends and stories that pass through martial arts communities. Some are true and some are lie, but most have a kernel of truth. Most of these legends have a moral, or an ideal that they are supposed to transmit. There are lots of these apocryphal stories that seem to have a life of their own. There is one of these stories that I've been thinking about today. I've heard this throughout the years from different people. I call it The Legend of the Champion Buster.
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The premise is that there is this unassuming judo instructor teaching a handful of people in some backwater locale. The instructor hasn't competed in years, if ever, and nobody in particular has really ever heard of him.
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Well, along comes the young, hot, strong, national-level competitor. The type of guy who is used to being alpha-male at his own dojo and every other dojo the rolls into. The young champion is invariably "in town visiting relatives" or something to that effect, and drops into the instructor's dojo figuring to show the local yokels what "real judo" looks like.
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After getting suited-up and taping up all his fingers and doing some vigorous warm-up exercises where everyone can see him and be impressed, he walks out to do randori with the instructor...
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...and the unknown instructor demolishes the champion - smashes him while seeming to hardly move - humiliates the young champion without ever exerting himself, all the time doing "classical judo" instead of "competition judo".
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I've definitely seen judo players that fit that young champion archetype, and I often feel like the unknown judo instructor teaching a handful of people in some backwater locale, although I am definitely NOT claiming to be a champion buster.
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I don't know what brought that story to mind, but I though I'd share it and see how many folks have heard this legend or one like it. What do y'all think of those two archetypes? Have y'all ever met the champion buster? Ever laid hands on him in randori?
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mokuren Dojo Newsletter

As the year is drawing to a close I have quite a few new things on the drawing board, one of which is a new dojo/blog newsletter! The newsletter will include dojo news and info, thoughts and practice hints for my students, reprints form my blog archives, and articles and other content that won't be available on the blog.
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If you enjoy this blog, I know you'll enjoy receiving the email newsletters 1-2 times per month. Signing up is easy - just click here and enter your name and email address. Mail Chimp will send you an email verification to be sure that you are really opting-in and you're not being spammed -then you're "in like Flynn" (whatever that means anyway).
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The first newsletter will be ready to go out in about a week, so don't delay - make sure you're signed up now so you won't miss any of the great new content!

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Charisma and Intelligence

Kel (left) and yours truly (center background) at the recent yonkata clinic (click the pic for a larger image) Aren't those Mokuren Dojo guys a handsome, intelligent-looking group!


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Monday, November 09, 2009

Ukiwaza and Koryu Dai Yon



Courtesy of Adam Franco
What a fabulous seminar we had this past weekend!  I got to see a bunch of the old heads - one of whom I haven't been able to lay hands on in about 10 years!  And it's always a pleasure to play under the tutelage of Henry Copeland - a truly great aikido master and heck of a great guy.
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We went over the floating throws and koryu dai yon kata.  Following are my impressions and take-away points. Of course, any mistakes or misunderstandings are my fault...
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I was impressed at the incredible variability in yon kata.  There are apparently very many different acceptable ways to do it.  It seemed to me (and to some of the other old heads) that Henry has taught this thing several different ways over the years.  I suppose that is to be expected as our proficiency and understanding improves and so does his, but it seems as if virtually anything that gets the desired throw with the desired energy or feeling, counts as an okay yonkata.
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We started the floating throws with shihonage because that is where the offbalance changes in junana.  everything up to this point has been catching uke on a downstep and bumping him into offbalance, but the premise in these techniques is that you miss that downstep, and draw him perpendicular to his feet into offbalance, causing him to rise and float for a moment.  That's right.  I usually characterize these things as floating throws because of the distinctive feel of the otoshi throwing action following the offbalance, but Henry was talking about the offbalance being the floating aspect of the floating throws.
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Shihonage illustrates a properly-timed guruma offbalance.  Maeotoshi is rushed and spoiled but you can still float him by lifting under the arm.  Henry was throwing sumiotoshi an instant later than I usually throw it and teach it.  Hikiotoshi is still a bear for me.
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This weekend, YK#1 and YK#2 had wholly different feels - not just "wrong-sided" versions of the same thing.  YK#1 was pushing perpendicular between the feet on the down, into the face on the rise, then pushing through otoshi and into guruma on the next down.  YK#2 was evade, pop the hands up in his face, and turn with him.
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YK#3-4 hang them on their second otoshi step, then  stride through them on their next weight shift.
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YK#5-6 can be a pulling sumiotoshi if tori is shorter than uke.
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Another surprise this weekend was Henry characterized it as a really aggressive, practical, self-defense kata.  That's interesting because I've always thought of it as a compliant uke theoretical drilling type kata.
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We practiced several of the throws from YK part B from 2-hand grabs, where they are usually one-hand grabs.  They work great either way.
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What did you other guys that attended take away from this clinic?
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Nice aikido demo

Very nicely-done aikido demonstration.  Much of what you see in the first half of this video has the same feel, the same energy as the Yonkata material that we'll be working on this weekend.  Much of the second half of the video has a similar feel to the end of Sankata.

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Time to float


Picture courtesy of BekiPe

One of the interesting peculiarities about our particular scope and sequence _ our method for teaching Tomikiryu, is that between Ikkyu (1st brown belt) and shodan (1st black belt) there is a huge amount of time but a relatively small amount of new techniques. Between ikkyu and shodan is at least 90 mat-hours but only 5 new techniques. And those 5 techniques are not really the main idea that the student is supposed to get. So, what is?
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Between nikyu and ikkyo, the student learns the ukiwaza (intensely timing-dependent floating throws, A.K.A. kokyunage the breath throws). Then from ikkyu to shodan, the student is supposed to take the extra time to go back and apply the principles learned in the ukiwaza to all the previous material. Basically, to make everything a floating throw.
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so, what are the characteristic ideas seen in the ukiwaza that are supposed to be transferred to all the previous material? All the floating throws...
  1. have a loose connection between uke and tori - tori is not hooked directly to uke's torso.

  2. have a connection with little mechanical insurance (for instance, unlike kotegaeshi, with a floating throw you can't endanger the wrist to make uke comply.)

  3. require near-perfect timing

  4. require near-perfect synchronization between tori's and uke's footfalls.

  5. require near-perfect directed off-balances

  6. require tori to not support uke

  7. are all otoshi motion - that is, they all happen at the moment of a footfall

  8. incorporate that release feeling from hanasu, which is further refined by practicing koryu dai yon kata.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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20th anniversary clinic preview

This weekend, five of us are attending the 20th anniversary seminar at the Starkville aikido group with my teacher, John Usher, and our great friend and teacher, Henry Copeland. We will be working on the floating throws in Junana as well as Koryu Dai Yon kata. For a little glimpse of what you'll be getting if you attend or what you'll be missing if you can't make it, check out the following.  I can't wait to see some folks that I might have seen once in the last 10 years, and to work on this awesome stuff with these awesome instructors!




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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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