Monday, October 25, 2010

Why ushirowaza?


The thematic focus for this past weekend's abg was ushirowaza (attacks from the rear).  "Why ushirowaza," I was asked. Well, besides the fact that it is a part of aikido that we mostly neglect, I had a handful of reasons...

To improve randori.  Ever get into a situation in randori where you hesitated to do an otherwise appropriate move because the guy might get your back? I bet if you hesitated then he got your back anyway.  More exposure to ushirowaza should reduce that hesitation.

Rory Miller made the observation in a recent blog post that we tend to tell students to attack from the back, and we teach them how to do it, but when we spar or randori, we revert back to toe-to-toe.  I think greater exposure to ushirowaza will have a positive effect on this.

Thirdly, I have been thinking lately about what a gruesome hodgepodge the advanced kata in Tomikiryu are.  If you want to study ushiro (for instance) you have to search thru all the kata because these techniques are scattered here and there.  To facilitate studying specific attacks, I've been disassembling the advanced kata and cataloging the techniques in lists sorted by attack.  Since it was already on my mind, we took the ushiro list and worked it.

...so that's why ushirowaza.

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