New Schedule and Location for 2016

Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays from 8-9PM at Rejoice Dance Studio, 1418 Delaware Avenue, McComb MS.

How to cut with a sword

I'm no kendo master, but here's a lesson that you can use in your aikido and jodo.  It's common to see a student drape the sword downward behind his back in preparation to make a downward menuchi cut (see the following film starting at about 1:50). Don't do this.
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Notice that in all the downward strikes in this film, the center of mass of the sword and arms lies in front of the swordsman's body.  Thus, all he has to do to strike is relax and the arms and sword drop forward and downward.  If you drape the sword over your back then to strike you must exert to get the sword back in front of your body.
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This is not just an energy conservation idea.  It is a motor control idea too.  You've got two arms hooked to the sword, and if you start exerting with them, it's not possible to exert equally, so your arms will exert against each other and the sword will waver from side to side during the cut.  If, however, you make unbendable arms and drop the arms-plus-sword as a unit, the sword will fall in a straighter path, making it easier to hit your precise target and making a cleaner cut.

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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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8 Haloween hints from Mokuren Dojo

Image courtesy of Funky64
Happy Haloween, all you ghouls and goblins! In the spirit of the season, I thought I'd give you eight ways that the martial arts at Mokuren Dojo are perfect for your inner zombie or vampire!

1) Aikidoka avoid all contact - if uke can touch you, they can hurt you (they might even give you the Mummy Rot)! So tori wants to avoid all possible contact with uke. Avoid, evade, do not engage, brush off, roll around them, disengage! This isn't always possible, but it is a vital starting point in aikido.
2) Check yourself regularly for faults - just like lepers were once taught to make regular self checks to make sure they hadn't accidently dropped something, you want to practice slowly and carefully enough that you can go through a self-check to make sure everything is in place and working correctly. Try practicing so slowly that you can do a self-check after every single step. If you don't practice this way, you could end up with shambling, undead techniques!
3) Avoid excessive exertion - for the same reason as #2 above, don't exert yourself so hard that you knock your own arm off! If the techniques in aikido and judo are going to work at all, they will work very gently. When you add force you end up with a poor approximation of the effect you can get with the light, effortless, aiki-like motion.
4) Move slower - whether you are fresh out of the grave (yonkyu) or have been mouldering in a sarcophagus for 3000 years (rokudan), take just an instant longer to make sure you place each footstep correctly. One perfectly placed footstep is better than 3-4 approximate steps.
5) Leave uke hanging - when you get an offbalance and leave uke hanging in unbalance without support, you suck the life energy right out of his attack! All that gripping and clinging and pushing and pulling on uke just gives him a transfusion of vital balance and an opportunity to turn the tables and drive a stake right through your heart.
6) Un-bendable arms - All the hippest creatures are doing it, from Frankenstein's Monster to Ramses the Damned. Try it and you'll be zombified at how much better your transmission of force to uke gets.
7) Disapear and reappear - If you move away in front of uke, he'll track you forever, but if you evade diagonally toward uke as he comes at you, you'll pass right through the narrowest part of his field of vision into his blind spot. The effect is incredibly disorienting and disconcerting for uke.
8) Hide in uke's shadow - in fact, be his shadow. If you get into uke's blind spot behind his shoulder, use your hands as feelers instead of grabbing him, and get the motion of your center in perfect synch with his, he'll know you're there (somewhere) but he won't be able to track or find you.

So, there you have it, As an added bonus, I'll leave y'all with the immortal words of a most beastly wight - the infernally creepy Michael Jackson...

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking on the mat.

Under hakama, you see a sight that almost stops your motion!
You try to scream but tori takes the sen before you kiai.
You start to freeze and you're extended right into otoshi!

You've been ogoshi'd



'Cause this is aiki, aiki night
And no one's gonna save you from the shomenate strike
You know it's aiki, aiki night
You're fighting for your life inside a aiki, dojo tonight...

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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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Footsweep to control

I love this game. This is the sort of footsweeps we're tryingto develop. Of particular interest to me is how the two players - big man and little man - their bodies have different frequencies, different rhythms, but they're both able to do this game amazingly well!


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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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Osaekomi recap


Photo courtesy of Guillaume
This past month has been osaekomi month, during which I have placed more of an emphasis on writing about the locks, pins, and holds that appear in aikido and judo.  Following is a convenient list for you to check out the osaekomi articles from this past month.
Or you may just want to peruse all the articles on osaekomi in my archives.
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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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Unnatural or just inefficient?


Photo courtesy of Dangoodwin
A couple of my instructors over the years have made a great emphasis on "learning to move naturally"
I thought that was strange because it seems to me that "natural" should mean something like "unlearned" or "instinctive." I've had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that you might have to learn how to move naturally. When these instructors would point out some of my unnatural motions, then show me the correct, "natural" motions, I could rarely tell why one was more natural than the next
But they prescribed drills. I did the drills. And now my instinctive, natural motion is more like the motion of the "natural motion drills" and the techniques work better and feel fine but I'm still not sure what makes it more "natural."
Now when I see a student make unnatural motions I prescribe the same drills, and those drills are pretty good at curing the students, but I'm still not fully on-board with the term "natural."
I certainly agree that we become habituated with inefficient ways of doing common things. Much of this comes from what Thomas Hanna called sensorimotor amnesia. About the time we reach puberty, most of us start slowing down and trying to look cool and we stop playing with motion. Our brains lose the constant feedback from our muscles and the brain begins to forget what those muscles feel like and what they are capable of. This sensorimotor amnesia leads to us learning and habituating inefficient ways of doing things.
But un-natural??? What do y'all think?
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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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Junana locks and pins

Osaekomi month is drawing to an end here at Mokuren Dojo.  For the past month we have emphasized the pins and locks and holds of aikido and judo both in our classes and here on the blog.  I'll have a recap of all the articles I've written here in a couple of days, but till then, here is a video featuring a few of my students playing with some of the locks and pins associated with techniques #6, 7, 8, and 12 of Junana hon 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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Kata vs. Randori

Theories get you thinking. Sweat gets you results.
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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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My jodo tokuiwaza - suigetsu


In judo there is a concept known as tokuiwaza.  This is sort of a combination of your favorite technique and the technique that works the best for you most of the time.  Aikido does not seem to have the concept of tokuiwaza - the aikidoka is supposed to respond appropriately with aiki rather than manipulating the situation toward his favorite or most favorable technique.  I don't know if the tokuiwaza concept appears in jodo or not (I'm a lowly shodan in jodo)...
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But I sure have a tokuiwaza.  It's called suigetsu.  The second of the seiteikata, the premise is simply that you step aside from a linear attack, use the stick to push yourself back off of the attacker, then either sweep his weapon, break his wrist, or strike his head.  I don't know what it is about this technique, but it appears to me to be the technical center of the jodo universe.  I just never get tired of playing with this technique.  It seems that I end up repping it at least a few times during every practice.  most of the time that I am walking around with a cane or a stick I end up playing this one on signs, doorframes, trees, etc...
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Here is a video of me playing with suigetsu on my pell.


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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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15 old Tomiki kata


I think that it is really interesting to look at the historical development of a martial arts teaching system. Take for instance, Tomiki aikido. Tomiki's teaching system is characterized by kata, of which there are several. Students start with footwork exercises (tegatana, unsoku, etc...), move on to wrist release techniques (hanasu, shichihon no kuzushi, etc...) and then into the seventeen fundamental aikido techniques (junana) - all before delving into the mass of variations contained in the six koryunokata.
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The part that is really interesting to me is to see a glimpse of how Tomiki struggled and wrestled in his mind with how to organize and present the system. A great example is the 17 fundamental forms (junana). This kata did not spring forth form Tomiki's forehead fully-grown. Rather, there was an evolution during which techniques were sorted and organized and codified (kata-fied).
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Originally, Tomiki said there were 15 fundamental forms. There were no floating throws (maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, hikiotoshi) and there was a left- and right-handed version of several of the wrist techniques. Some techniques were added (i.e. kotemawashi) that weren't seen in Junana, while other pairs of techniques from Juanna were combined into a single idea in the 15 kata. All-in-all, this makes the 15 a wholly different kata from the 17 - not just a smaller predecessor.
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Nick Lowry at Windsong Dojo has recently put an immense amount of high-quality demonstrations on YouTube, including a technique-by-technique demonstration and discussion of the 15 old fundamentals kata. Definitely worth a look if you are interested in the evolution of Tomikiryu, or even if you have an interest in how teaching systems in general are constructed.
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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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Don't drop the arm!


Photo courtesy of BestKevin
Another quick and simple hint for preforming osaekomi (locks, holds, or pins) in aikido - When uke taps, do not just drop their arm onto the mat and walk off.
When a muscle is stretched to its limit, it becomes slack and does not contract correctly for a moment or two. So, when you stretch their arm, if you drop it they won't be able to control it and it will smack the mat like a dead fish. This is poor zanshin for you but it is also disrespectful, unpleasant, and perhaps painful for uke.
Stretch the arm and when they tap, step outside their reach, place their arm on the mat, and back away.


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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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Just bridging doesn't cut it!



Photo courtesy of Simmr
One idea that I've had a hard time training out of my kids is the idea that simply bridging will invalidate a hold. Where does this idea come from? Pro-wrestling maybe?
In judo, a hold-down is done by pressing most of the bottom man's shoulders into the mat from a position of control. If bottom man bridges (lifts his butt), he's still held down. Sometimes some of my kids will lift one shoulder off the mat and wave the arm at the ref as if to say, "look, my shoulder's up," even though the opponent is clearly controlling and pressing the other shoulder into the mat. This does not stop the hold-down either.
I have finally said it enough times that some of my kids have figured out that there are three basic ways to escape a hold
  • - Turn clearly onto your side. Even though you are still on bottom, this is a great step toward escape and the back of neither shoulder is pressed into the mat. Turning onto your side will stop a hold-down. Watch out though - you need to turn to face the opponent. If you turn away he'll jump on your back.
  • - Reverse positions so that you are on top. If you are clearly holding uke, then he is not holding you. Make it easy for the ref to see that you are the boss. Refs are dumb, and if it's not easy to see your mastery they might think you are actually losing ;-)
  • - Get your legs around their leg(s) or torso. Again, if you are holding him, he is not holding 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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Calling all Tomiki Teachers!


I know that y'all are out there, and I have some questions for you...
How do you begin teaching the walking kata (A.K.A. Tegatana no kata, unsoku, tandoku undo, etc...) to a first-day beginner? How much emphasis do you put on getting the walking right before going on to the next thing? What technical points do you start with and what comes later? How much verbal explanation do you give them before getting into the physical practice of the exercise?
I need some of your hints and tips about beginning to teach this exercise to utter beginners. Here's your chance to brain-dump come on, I'm ready! Leave me a comment below...
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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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Slower, softer, higher!

Last night we had a host of rank tests and today we have a host of students with new ranks! Congrats to the following students:
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  • - Kel Feind - Ikkyu (1st brown belt)
  • - Tony Anglin - Sankyu (3rd brown belt)
  • - Dallas Anglin - Sankyu (3rd brown belt)
  • - April Haygood - Gokyu (yellow belt)
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April has done a great job of learning the first 4 releases and the first two atemiwaza. We will be concentrating more in the upcoming months on the next 3 atemiwaza and the next 4 releases. We need to work more on the initial evasion response and off-balance, as these are the two things that most tip the scales in your favor when attacked by a larger opponent.
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Dallas is turning into a fantastic uke. We will continue working those skills as well as concentrating more on the tekubiwaza (wrist techniques).
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Tony's ukemi is a little flat, but some of that is due to an old rib injury. Tony's understanding of the principles of the system is probably better than any other student's. We'll be working on the tekubiwaza as we put more emphasis on proper, safe falling skills.
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Kel has seen and can approximate all of Junana, including the ukiwaza (floating techniques) at the end. During the time between ikkyu and shodan, he needs to take the skills and principles and timing learned in the ukiwaza and apply them to all of the earlier techniques so that everything in the syllabus becomes (essentially) a floating throw. Kel also needs to continue making a careful study of all the fundamental principles (ma-ai, centered unbendable arm, etc...) between now and shodan. Both the fundamentals and the more advanced floating principles are easier to see and develop and integrate if you commit to working ever softer and ever slower.


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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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Lost Generation -- NOT


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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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20 years of aiki


I'm super-excited about the upcoming 20th anniversary clinic to be held at MSU next month. If any folks from my area need a lift, let me know and you can ride with me. I've only got one question - Who's that bald guy standing next to those two good-looking guys with lots of hair?
University Aikido Club - 20 Year Anniversary Clinic
November 6-7, 2009
Instructor: Henry Copeland
We would love to see all club alumni and friends. We will have young folk (new members) to the old codgers (guys that were around near the beginning). It will be fun. If you can just come for single session, or just for lunch on Saturday that is fine. We would love to see you. If you have some relevant club pictures that you would like to share please send them to me. If you have the email address of a past member, please send it to me.
Tentative Schedule:
Friday, Nov 6:
6 - 8 pm: Aikido – Floating throws
8:30 – ?: Informal Dinner
Saturday, Nov 7:
10 – 12: Aikido – Koryu dai Yon Kata
Noon: Celebration Lunch (location to TBA)
2 – 4:30: Aikido – Koryu dai Yon Kata
Donations to cover Henry’s expenses are welcome.
Lunch on Saturday will be catered with a cost of approximately $10-$12 per person.
We had embroidered sport shirts made for the event that are available for purchase. See the website for details.

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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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New Blog Template - GIVEAWAY

Dear Faithful Reader,
You'll notice a brand new look here at Mokuren Dojo.  Folks have told me over the years that the standard Blogger Scribe template was boring and that I'd do much better with a customized template.  I've been thinking about the change for a long time now (ie a couple of years) but just haven't gotten to it until now.
The response from my long-time readers has been generally positive.  Most everybody likes the minimalist color scheme with splashes of red.  Several people have mentioned that the floating sidebar is disorienting and unpleasant to them, but an equal number of folks have said that it's kinda cool. 
I like the new color scheme and I like how the floating sidebar keeps some naviagation and subscription links at hand all the time - but I'm not dead set on the floating sidebar, so please, try it out for a week or two and let me know if the it grows on you or not.  I might be able to get it to stay at the top
And now, to the GIVEAWAY! 
I really want y'all's feedback on the new theme, so please take a look around and leave me a comment telling me what you think about the shape of things here at Mokuren Dojo.   You can comment below this post, or leave me a comment on Facebook.  or send me an email at mokurendojo@gmail.com.  Leave me a comment before midnight, October 31, 2009 and at the beginning of November I'll draw the name of one lucky commenter (blog comment, email, or Facebook comment) to receive Kris Wilder's excellent book, The Way of Sanchin 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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Ashiguruma

Ashiguruma is one of my favorite techniques.  Check out the beautiful guruma motion created in these following videos.  I like to think of ashiguruma as a backwards (tori standing the wrong direction) hizaguruma.  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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Get excited about your art!


Photo courtesy of Candor
It's interesting (to me at least) how my level of engagement with the martial arts I do varies over time. I do aikido and judo and my excitement about practicing each art waxes and wanes. I almost never have times when I am not interested in either art, but I'm almost always more engaged in one art than the other. My interest in these arts seems to cycle in periods of weeks-to-months.
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Right now I'm super-excited about the things I'm learning and teaching in my judo classes. My aikido practice in not really suffering, but it is sort of on autopilot right now, while I dive in and swim around in the awesomeness of judo!
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It is also neat how the two arts feed off of each other. Whatever is exciting me about judo right now will eventually trigger something about my aikido and my interest in aikido will wax as my judo excitement wanes. Sometime after that, I know my aikido work will spawn a new line of thought and practice in judo.
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A couple of take-away ideas...
  • Study more than one art - It's nice to have 2-3 arts that you practice, so you always have something to excite you about at least one of them and so that they inform each other, each art enflaming your interest for the other.

  • Study each art systematically - You need a systematic, almost ritualistic way to practice the arts when you are not very motivated or interested. The system helps maintain your gains during dry periods and serves as a baseline from which to venture in times of interest and excitement.
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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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Osaekomi with knee on shoulder

Cool old photo of some jiujitsu women applying a pin similar to some of the pins we worked on last night in aikido.  Notice that tori has secured uke's wrist to her own thigh and has placed her knee on top of uke's shoulder.  Also notice the head is immobilized.  I wonder what role the overturned chair in the background played in the technique?


Photo courtesy of George Eastman House
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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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Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
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How to win a judo match

Good fundamental judo knowledge.

For kids younger than about teenage, we do not allow chokes or armbars, so there are 3 ways to win for them; ippon, pin, or DQ.
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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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Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
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Subscribe now for free updates from the Mokuren Dojo blog

Seoinage


Above is a good instructional vid of a standard, basic seoinage (shoulder throw).  I prefer to teach it with some motion, as in a deashi-to-seoinage combo so that you can start to develop some better footwork timing, but this is a very common way to teach it, and it is a decent way to teach it.  Below is a compilation of a lot of seoinage in tournaments.


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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
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Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
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Subscribe now for free updates from the Mokuren Dojo blog

Mokuren Dojo articles on Aikido Journal

Over the past few years, Aikido Journal has picked up and reprinted several of my articles from here at Mokuren Dojo. Thanks Aiki Journal guys, for the attention! I've enjoyed the increased exposure and it has allowed a much larger group of people to enjoy my ideas here on the blog (or at least a larger group is laughing at my ignorance now).
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Following is a list of my articles that Aikido Journal has re-published. You might enjoy perusing these and reading or re-reading them.

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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
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Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
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Subscribe now for free updates from the Mokuren Dojo blog

Calling all geeks! Contest!!!

UPDATE: I'm trying out IntenseDebate per a suggestion. Check it out below this post and leave me a comment so I can tell how it's working and how you like using it. Thanks, Pat.
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I am seriously frustrated with Disqus and with Blogger!
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For a week now my comments system for my blog has been non-functional. After writing 4 emails to the Disqus techies and getting one response and no help, I removed the Disqus code from my site and reactivated Blogger comments - and now Blogger comments system doesn't work on my blog either. I even tried reverting to a classic template and rebuilding all my widgets - to no avail.
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HELP!
I'm sure there are some Blogger-savvy martial artists out there. The first person to help me fix this problem such that either Blogger or Disqus comment system actually works, will receive the following awesome prize:



Kane & Wilder's excellent book, The Way of Kata.
Send your suggestions to me via email at mailto:mokurendojo@gmail.com?subject=[Comments with the subject line, [Comments Contest]. Solve my comments problem and I'll set you up!

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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
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Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
____________
Subscribe now for free updates from the Mokuren Dojo blog

Kids' judo announcements


I have a handful of announcements for my judo kids and their parents.


No class today
First, remember there will be no class today (Thursday, October 8, 2009.) It's QuinZilla's birthday, and we'll be at Fox's Pizza Den instead of the dojo. Y'all are welcome to meet us there if you like! Check with Elise or me for time and details.
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It's uniform time again
The hottest part of the year is over, so our no-uniform classes are coming to an end. The judo kids should wear their judo uniforms and their belts to practice because the uniform makes them feel like a part of a special group and the belts help to give them some motivation to strive to improve. It's also easier to do some of the exercises and wrestling with the jacket than without.
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If your kids have grown and need a new uniform, the ones at Amazonare about as inexpensive and good quality as anywhere, and I get a small commission for referrals if you buy from there.
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Progress toward the next rank
We'll be having our next rank demonstration in March 2010, so we're about halfway through this judo class year. Time for some progress reports...
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Whit
  • Great osotogari (outside leg reap) that he is making great use of in randori.
  • Good defensive ground game, needs work on offensive ground skills - we'll be working on getting and holding specific, named pins
  • needs more variety in his standing game - we'll be working on osotogari, taiotoshi, and deashi combos
Knox
  • Good osotogari that pops up fairly often in randori.
  • Good defensive ground game, needs work on offensive ground skills - we'll be working on getting and holding specific, named pins
  • Knox needs more variety in standing technique - let's work on pull-push-deashi and push-pull-osotogari.
Quin
  • Fast with the leg picks. Could stand a little better technical form with the leg picks.
  • Needs to improve defensive ground game and osaekomi skills
  • let's work on practicing all throws into ukigatame and moving from ukigatame into specific, named holds
Zack
  • Generally good aggressive randori with good control
  • Must avoid running at opponent like in football. The bull rush is intimidating to beginners but they will quickly figure out how to smash him when he does it.
  • Needs more reps with osotogari and deashibarai
Mick
  • really improving at ukemi (falling properly) attention and control is improving too.
  • avoid trying the bull rush in randori (as with Zack above)
  • more reps on osotogari and deashibarai
Brandon
  • Great attention to technical detail and great technical variety in randori
  • needs to improve his sense of synchronization and use that to build combinations
Shelby
  • improving at falling, improving attention span
  • needs more reps on osoto and deashi - she'd probably benefit from more work on the push-pull setups for these
Luke
  • improving falling
  • luke does great at partner drills and does well in randori
  • more reps on push-pull osoto and deashi so that he can start trying these in randori
Jacob
  • improving falling
  • good aggression in randori, perhaps too much aggression/competitiveness in basic drilling
  • We need to work on attention and basic drills, including osotogari and deashi
I know this isn't everyone, some players are taking some time off to play football this fall, but when your kids get through with football they'll still have time to get some judo training in before the March 2010 rank demonstration, so come on back.


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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
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Hold, but don't cling


Photo courtesy of Spengu
Often, the harder tori insists on holding a pin, the harder it is to move to another safe position if uke does escape.
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In judo, it is often harder to hold a position when you clench tightly than when you drape loosely over uke. When you clench tightly, you make yourself a solid, unified piece for uke to lift. When you drape loosely it is much harder to lift you because you are both heavy and pliable. A better hold-down often happens when you drape yourself loosely over uke and allow him to shift under you (within constraints).
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The same thing happens in aikido when tori almost has a good pinning position but not quite, and the desire to hold that pin makes tori try harder and harder. If uke is able to reverse that pin, then tori will likely be in trouble for having tried to hold the position so hard for so long.
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Moral of the story - when your position starts to degrade, let go and move on instead of clinging to the past and riding it down the toilet.
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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
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Nobility, superiority, and martial arts rank

Occasionally the topic of rank and the value of rank and whether or not to concern oneself with rank bubbles through the martial blogosphere. Today I ran across a great quote that speaks to that subject...
The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self.  Whitney Young (1921 - 1971) US civil rights leader
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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
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Who's controlling who?


Photo courtesy of The US Army
I don't think this is really a set rule in judo, but in my book, it's not really a hold-down if uke is also holding tori in place. If tori can't get up and get away quickly and easily, it's not really a hold-down but more of a tangle. There are a couple of common implications of this pseudo-rule:
  • Leg entanglement ends a hold-down. If uke can get control of tori's leg then he can prevent tori from easily escaping. By playing newaza this way, we don't have to worry too much about leglocks because we're working on preventing or diffusing the positional pre-requisite for a leglock. If you're going to hold uke down, don't let him grab or entangle your leg. Thus, in judo, leglock is sort of assumed if you can get a leg entanglement.
  • The guard doesn't count as a hold even if the top man is pressing the bottom man's shoulders down. With legs around, the bottom man is preventing much of top man's control, while positioning for various counters and escapes of his own. It is difficult to free yourself from uke's legs while retaining good control over his torso.
  • What about holds in which uke is free to hug your head or torso? I say that those are still holds because it is usually trivial to use your body weight and leg strength to break uke's arm hold such that you can escape.
So, one way to improve your control of uke is to prevent him from controlling you. Try it. You might like playing it that way.
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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
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Kansetsu in osaekomi


Photo courtesy of Invunche
In judo and aikido, when an osaekomi (pinning technique) makes use of kansetsu (joint manipulation), it isn't the explicit purpose of the kansetsu to break the joint. The point of the kansetsu is to take all the slack out of the joint, thus limiting the range of motion of the rest of the body, making it that much harder for uke to escape the pin or continue the attack.
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Try this. Take a relaxed slow stroll across the room. Now stroll back but hold one elbow flexed as far as it will go and see if your gait is as relaxed or natural as before. Now walk across the room again with your arms moving naturally but your chin lifted as far from your sternum as you can get it. What does that do to the motion of the rest of your joints.
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Point is, your body is made to work as a loose, flexible whole. By binding any major joint, you limit the motion of all other joints. Thus, without stretching a joint remotely close to the breaking point, you can bind one and restrict them all, thus making your osaekomi safer and more effective. Or as Tolkien would have said it...
One joint to rule them all,
One joint to find them.
One joint to bring them all,
And in the darkness, bind them.
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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
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Quin randori video

My son, Quin, doing some reps of a cool osotogari followed by several falls in randori. My favorite is the first fall in randori - a cool runaround into tateshiho (the mount). 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
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Name that atemi!


Photo courtesy of Bobster855
Cool old photo of WWII era marines training an aikido atemi as a defense against a bayonet thrust.  Question for my aiki-geek buddies: is this particular atemi technique shomenate, aigamaeate, or gyakugamaeate?  It has elements of each, but is also missing elements of each.  Very similar to some of the Sankata jodori techniques.  Also notice the sneaky footstomp kuzushi - one of my favorite tricks!
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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
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An inconvenient hold-down



Photo courtesy of Drome
In judo, one way you can win a match is to immobilize the opponent on his back for several seconds. In aikido and traditional Japanese jiu-jitsu many of the techniques end with tori holding uke immobilized (often face-down) for several seconds. This class of hold-down techniques is called osaekomi.
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Osaekomi is not really a hold-or-die thing. It does not necessarily mean tori is a failure if uke escapes the hold (though it's not really a good thing to happen). The main purposes of osaekomi include...
  • ...making tori relatively safe, such that it is at least more difficult for uke to continue to attack.
  • ...letting tori rest and calm down while making uke waste energy.

So, tori uses osaekomi to inconvenience uke while remaining relatively safe and fairly mobile.
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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
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Wide-legged forward bend with twist

Besides aikido and judo, one activity I do for myself is yoga.  I've been doing this for about 8 years and am still such a noob.  Or another way to put it is, I am always finding something newly challenging in my practice.  There...  That sounds much more yogi-ish ;-)
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These days the thing that always surprises me is standing wide-legged forward bend with twist.  Try it - put your feet about 2-3 hip widths apart with legs straight-ish.  Bend forward at the hips, trying to keep length in the front of the body and back straight-ish.  Now put one hand on the ground and reach the other arm toward the ceiling, creating a twist in the torso.  Now, try that and keep breathing.  Now try it and breathe and stop counting seconds.  Challenging.
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I find that the physical practice of yoga helps remediate the dings and bumps I get doing aikido and judo, and it also helps me to relax and breathe and move during judo newaza much better.  I recommend trying it if you haven't.  The following is one of my favorite DVD instructionals.  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
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Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
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