Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tori also changes the rhythm in Gokata

Gokata is sometimes characterized as a "more aggressive tori" practice - but just like it is not really "faster," it is also not really an aggressive tori thing.  I prefer to think of it as a more proactive tori thing.
In much of our practice, tori stands and waits for uke to come give him the attack energy.  Uke moving toward tori is the predominant energy that the techniques make use of.  But in much of Gokata, tori is moving at uke while uke is moving at tori.  It is a coming-together.  Because both partners are in motion, the energy of most of the techniques is doubled.
Instead of aggressive, tori's spirit is proactive.  To get myself into this mindset when I start Gokata, I like to tell myself, "Well, if this conflict is inevitable then lets get it over with right now."  That helps to put me in the "running toward the sound of the guns" frame of mind, and helps to produce that proactive aikido feel.
Physically, the way that tori demonstrates a proactive spirit, is by taking at least one step forward (toward uke) into each technique instead of waiting or separating.  Thus, it is not uke that chooses when the encounter takes place.  In Gokata, tori gets to choose when uke breaks ma-ai - which means that tori knows when the encounter will happen and uke doesn't.
So, the combination of uke taking the slack out of the kata (see the previous post), and tori taking a proactive role in the encounters, gives Gokata more energy and a different sort of tempo or rhythm.

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Patrick Parker

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