I was excited at the prospect of working on my most favorite move with such an auspicious teacher but he was not thinking to build a lesson plan out of my tokuiwaza and he let the wind out of my sails pretty quickly when he said, "The reason that is your favorite technique is because you are afraid of it."
Like much of what Henry said, this didn't make sense. I was pretty good at sumiotoshi and I'd practiced it a good bit. I'd thrown it thousands of times and been thrown by it thousands of times. I knew how to fall out of it safely. What was there to fear?
Maybe he was talking about fear in the biblical sense of the word, as in, "Fear of the Lord," as in respect.
He went on to say that in order for that to be my favorite I had to attribute some quality or power to it that I thought other techniques lacked. He was saying that deep down I felt that sumiotoshi was a magic talisman that could fell opponents and slay dragons.
He was saying that I wanted to practice it partly in order to put that magic talisman into my arsenal but also because I was afraid that the magic might fall into the wrong hands and someone might use my magical move against me.
I think he was onto something - but you know what is weird? Even 25 years later, I still have techniques that are my favorites (tokuiwaza) and techniques that I dislike so much that I have a lot of trouble even practicing. You might call these anti-tokuiwaza.
I have no problem admitting that there are techniques that I'm still afraid of - techniques that represent an opponent's fearsome power over me. Techniques that, as a teacher, I am loath to teach to my students.
But you know what? Shining light on this collection of dragons robs them of power, so here goes - my anti-tokuiwaza include...
- harai tsurikomiashi
I'm sure there are a few more dragons in there but just listing this few makes my stomach roil tinking about them.
You know who would be my ultimate arch-nemesis? An athletic, healthy young adult with any 4 of these as their tokuiwaza!
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