Friday, May 13, 2011

The automagic aikimatic

There are as many preferred ways of running a class as there are instructors.  I have mentioned before that I tend to do my aikido classes like this:
  • warmup and ukemi
  • fundamentals (walking and releases)
  • rank requirements (junana and owaza)
  • then randori or a COOL NINJA TECHNIQUE O' THE DAY!
Most of this is pretty standard.  It's the COOL NINJA TECHNIQUE O' THE DAY! (CNTOD) that is somewhat unique to my classes.  After we get through with all the fundamentals and rank requirements for the day, I like to play with something from the advanced kata, or do some chaining (renraku) practice, or something else that is cool and ninja-like.  This adds an interest factor and keeps class fresh.
But where do the CNTODs come from?
  • Sometimes I will work through one of the Koryu no kata over the course of a few weeks - technique #1 one class, technique #2 the next class, etc...
  • Sometimes I call for suggestions of favorites or things they don't understand.
Another great way to create an endless stream of CNTODs is to build an Automagic Aikimatic Device (AAD)!  You'll need a 10-sided die and a 20-sided die.  You can get these from your local comic book shop, or hit up the nearest Dungeons & Dragons geek.  Take your two dice and put them inside a clear plastic box, and voila!  You have an automagic aikimatic device.
Whenever you need a CNTOD, grab your automagic aikimatic and shake it.  Take the result from the 10-sided die as the number of a release motion (9 and 10 are the first two releases from yonkata).  Take the result from the 20-sided die as a technique from junana or owaza (18, 19, and 20 would be a guruma, kataotoshi, or iriminage).  Then chain them together.  Do the stated release, and see what it takes to get from that position into the given technique.  Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it takes a lot of moving-with and hand switching like in randori.  Great practice!
Patrick Parker

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