New Schedule and Location for 2016

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

Aikido in Mississippi

For a long time, there has been relatively little Aikido in Mississippi - at least relatively little that could be found.  We were all doing our own private things in our own little private ghettos with a few of our own people.  But now there are several established aikido groups throughout the state and we seem to be interacting with each other more.  So if you are looking for an aikido class, here are some starting points...

Aikido of Hattiesburg
Hattiesburg, MS
http://aikidohattiesburg.com/
Instructors: Adrian Castillo and Danilo Mezzadri
danilo.mezzadri@me.com

Coastal Winds Martial Arts
Long Beach, MS
http://www.coastalwindsmartialarts.com
Instructor: Dallas Lloyd
info@coastalwindsmartialarts.com
228-234-8928

Eight Winds Aikido Society
Gautier, MS
Instructor: Carmen Pelusi
(228) 497-9899

Eight Winds Aikido Society
Pearl, MS
Instructor: Mike Chapman
601-941-1456

Mokuren Dojo
Magnolia, MS
www.mokurendojo.com
Instructor: Patrick Parker
mokurendojo@gmail.com
601-248-7282

Tupelo Aikikai
Tupelo, MS
http://tupeloaikikai.weebly.com/
Instructor: William Gibson
tupeloaikikai@yahoo.com
662-871 - 1027

University Aikido
Starkville, MS
http://aikido.org.msstate.edu
Instructor: John Usher
usher@ise.msstate.edu

Vicksburg Aikikai
Vicksburg, MS
http://vicksburgaikikai.org/
Instructor: John Porter
vicksburgaikikai@yahoo.com


Of course, this list is bound to be incomplete and/or incorrect.  If you teach aikido in Mississippi and would like to be on this list or if you have corrections, don't hesitate to contact me at mokurendojo@gmail.com.



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Come find me on Facebook at my Mokuren Dojo FB group

____________________
Patrick Parker
www.mokurendojo.com

Controlling rebounds and misses



So, you have practiced your staff forms religiously for 20 years or so and you have developed good precision and footwork and gotten pretty good at running through your routines without dropping your jo too often.
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But then you actually have to use a stick to hit something hard for real and you learn a couple of new lessons - lessons you can't learn by waving your stick in the air for years without actually hitting something.
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You learn that when you swing hard and actually connect with something solid there is that equal and opposite reaction thing from physics!  your stick rattles in your hands and hurts like hell and the end tends to bounce off into space instead of staying on the centerline where you would like it.
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Or you exert hard in your swing and unknowingly shorten your arms a bit and swish past your target, sending the end of your stick off into space again!
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So, how do you deal with the reverb and rebound off of a solid hit or with the uncontrolled momentum of a near-miss?  Besides just beating a pell a million times for real (and letting the reverb wreck your joints), are there any techniques that take rebound or misses into account?
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I have found a couple of hints during my aikijo studies.  You can try...

  • shortening the circle - assuming you are swinging the stick with a 2-handed grip on the end, like honte or gyakute, when the end of the stick gets out of control, pull the center of mass of the stick back through your lead hand, damping the vibrations out and letting you get the front end of the stick back under control rapidly.  This trick helps to control rebound and misses.
  • switching ends - if the front end of your stick shoots out into space, throw the back end of the stick at the opponent.  This has a similar effect as pulling the COM of the stick through your hand - it damps the vibrations, but it often lets you start a second attack sooner.

I definitely recommend really hitting something solid sometimes so that you can get used to the feel, but doing enough pell work to learn these lessons can be punishing on the joints, so search for places in your forms where shortening the circle or switching ends to regain control shows up - they are hidden in there.

photo courtesy of privatenobby

A little bit extra on this topic...



 Want to discuss this blog post? 

____________________ 
Patrick Parker 
www.mokurendojo.com

Pre-positioning in martial applications


Back in the day, when I was teaching Ergonomics and Work Design classes at college, there was this concept that we talked about - pre-positioning.  If there was a tool that you were going to have to use then you wanted to define a standard location and orientation for that tool so that when you reach for it, you can find it without searching for it and grasp it ready-for-use instead of having to waste time rotating and re-orienting the tool.
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The same applies in martial applications in many ways.  For example...
  • With many tactical folding pocket clip knives, you are able to change the pocket clip to hold the knife tip-up or tip-down blade-forward or blade-backward so that you can pre-position the knife in your pocket the same way every time, ready for deployment with your dominant hand (left or right).
  • In aikido, most all of the operations that the aikidoka needs to make with his hands he would prefer to do directly in front of his chest, where he is strongest and most coordinated, and hand actions most often happen in the plane between uke's and tori's centers - where the conflict is happening.  So, when a hand is not otherwise doing something in a technique, it is usually pre-positioned on the plane between tori's centerline and uke's centerline.  This way, the hands usually have the least distance to move to do their next action.
  • In judo, consider the common 3-step turn-in for seoinage.  If tori tries to turn in with his feet in any random position then it will frequently take several tiny steps.  But if tori makes his first step (before he turns his body) by turning his foot inward as far as it will go, then the subsequent steps will be easier and it will almost always take 3 steps (or sometimes just 2) to turn in.  By pre-positioning the foot in preparation for the turn, you make the actual turn more efficient.

I bet y'all could come up with a bunch more examples of pre-positioning in martial arts.

photo courtesy of DVDSHUB

Want to discuss this blog post? 
 ____________________ 
Patrick Parker 
www.mokurendojo.com

Lori O'Connell's When the Fight Goes to the Ground

A few weeks ago I was very pleased to receive a review copy of Sensei Lori O'Connell's new book, When the Fight Goes to the Ground.  This is an excellent text on counter-grappling.
It is common knowledge among martial arts folks that you want to avoid going to the ground if you can - especially against multiple opponents or armed opponents.  But it is also common knowledge that pretty much all fights go to the ground. A few years back someone asked one of my instructors, "Is it true the rule of thumb that says 80% of fights end up on the ground?" and that instructor responded, "No, 100% of fights go to the ground - at least one guy or the other - sometimes both."  I also recall a great quote from one of the Gracies - I want to ascribe it to Rener but I couldn't find where I'd heard it, when asked about fight strategy on the ground, he responded, "My ground strategy in a real fight is get off the damn ground!"
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That's where Lori O'Connell's book comes in.  Everybody knows that they're going to end up on the ground and that they are going to want to get off the ground - that's common sense.  But how do you do it?
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O'Connell spends nearly 20 chapters poking holes in the most common situations that you can end up in on the ground, whether against Joe Blow on the street or against a jujutsu trained fighter.  She demonstrates the use of tooth and claw and everything in-between for biting, cuffing, gouging, pinching, crushing, butting, grinding, and breaking small joints and vital points.  
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In other words, playing totally unfair against the weaknesses in the assumed rules in ground-domination situations.
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And as such, this book also represents a VITAL lesson for ground grappling artists as well as folks that want to defend against that sort of potential aggression.  For the grappler this book exposes potential weaknesses in your favorite techniques - things that you need to consider when you think you're going to put someone in a controlling position and apply a submission.
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192 pages of clear and concise explanation, beautiful and clear photography, excellent binding, and a DVD full of bonus video explanations make this a great book for grapplers, stand-up artists, and self-defense enthusiasts.
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Highly Recommended.




Want to discuss this blog post?
Come find me on Facebook at my Mokuren Dojo FB group

____________________
Patrick Parker
www.mokurendojo.com

Getting all the pieces in


There's this idea that you have to go really slow in aikido, and for practice that is generally a very good idea because it is usually safer but mostly because it allows both people to learn more and learn it faster.  It is not necessary that you go absolutely as slow as possible, but you should go slow enough that tori can get all the pieces of the technique in and slowly enough that both partners can feel the natural consequences of tori getting all those pieces in.
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There is this concept in judo that fits well in aikido practice - the 4-step technique, which says there are 4 parts to any technique, and that they generally go in this order -
  • kuzushi - unbalancing uke or disrupting uke so that his structure starts to crumble - or even just catching him unaware.  The idea is that you have to either catch uke by surprise or else disrupt his balance in order to get a technique to work properly.
  • tsukuri - fitting in - the act of tori getting himself in the proper position/structure/relationship with respect to uke to do the technique.  We usually say that we do kuzushi before tsukuri, but sometimes they happen simultaneously or the tsukuri causes the kuzushi.  The point is, you have to get both of them in or the technique will not be as easy as it could be.
  • kake - The actual effort or exertion.  Sometimes we call this, "Pulling the trigger."  Again, the main point of this model is that you have to get kuzushi and tsukuri before you pull the trigger (kake).
  • zanshin - remaining aware.  We sometimes state this as, "Watch out! because uke might have something sneaky up his sleeve."  Just because you have thrown uke does not mean that the encounter is ended.  We typically say that zanshin is the 4th stage of a technique, but it is actually a state of mind that should be a constant before, during, and after the technique.


 photo courtesy of Paco PH

Want to discuss this blog post?
Come find me on Facebook at my Mokuren Dojo FB group
____________________
Patrick Parker
www.mokurendojo.com