Saturday, June 2, 2007

The guard and it's many uses

Today we went over yep, you guessed it, the guard. This started from conversations on seeing people get someone else into the guard then not knowing what to do with it once they have it. Other than just scissoring someone with it (which seems to almost always be the case if the guard's even being used at all), you have enormous control of your opponent's hips using your legs as hooks. We practiced just keeping the other person off-balance and while a bit tiring, it takes almost no time to effectively learn to use. We also went over kesa gatame and briefly escapes from kesa. One thing I need constant reminding of is that when a hold is done improperly the escapes work, but once it's set and set right, you can't really escape (at least not without GREAT effort). The best defense is always to not get into a bad position in the first place.

Knives, knives, and more knives.......

Last night me and Bryce went over knife evasion techniques and how the affect our Aikido. We did this exercise due to all the knife postings from Pat and Dojorat. First all, knife work makes my Aikido go to crap. It shouldn't, but it does. I get so focused on that wooden spoon we were using as a knife that I can't relax enough to do proper Aikido. This was the lesson Bryce was trying to get across by jabbing me all night and keeping me on edge. I know it sounds simple to say "well just take a deep breath and relax and do proper smooth Aikido" but it didn't work out that way for me. Afterwards he told me I did well and now I know what I need to work on...staying calm. He was also saying that he was told knife randori is about as close as you can get to the real thing because in an actual life and death encounter you'll be a bit stiff and awkward and moving on reflex. Hence the need for constant practice and proper posture training. The exercise was great at showing me how far I've come and how far I need to go though. Any suggestions from anyone reading these posts on other exercises to try?

Friday, June 1, 2007

New Understandings

It never ceases to amaze me how in any martial art, two people can do similar moves, study them and get drastically different results. Last night me and Bryce were up discussing how different people in our organization of Aikido came up with their own unique ideas of how a move should be performed under similar circumstances. For instance, in honasu number 1, Uke grabs Tori's wrist with his opposite hand (so Uke's right hand to Tori's right hand making their arms go across the body). In our version of this Uke is pulling on Tori's wrist so we follow it and step with that motion. In another group, they teach that Uke doesn't pull but squeezes and roots himself to the ground requiring different movements to offbalance him. I'd seen that one before but there was one more that blew my mind how simple it was and that I'd never considered it before. Uke grabs and pulls but Tori steps AWAY straightening the arms and when they become straight he swings his hand inside the body and gently takes Uke's already slipping grip with his other hand turning it into a Kotogaeshi with very little movement. Afterwards we spiraled into a discussion of High School wrestling techniques versus what I've seen Jujitsu guys do that appear to be very similar moves. After an hour or two of that, Enter the Dragon came on tv and that led to a few more hours of how to defend against someone with the speed of Bruce Lee (other than throwing something at him and running away). All in all, a good learning experience. Pat if you're reading this, I won't physically be in McComb for the Aiki Buddy Gathering in June, but I'm sending Andy in my stead with a camera so I won't miss any of the action.