Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Moretedori- A Two-Fisted Tale-Part II

Sorry for the absence. 2 weeks ago, we spent a sweaty Sunday working on some two-handed techniques. With the aite grabbing us with both hands at full force, many of us instinctively tense up and push with upper body strength. A natural response, but totally incorrect in aikido.

Here's the shihan being grabbed by a tall fellow:

Instead, we must bend our wrist upward and allow the opponent to fall into us through his own power. The sensei of course makes this look easy. And it is. If you let become easy. I didn't.

As with many things in life, I made it much more difficult than it really was. I thought too much, worried too much, fought too much. The result was a sweaty, frustrated writer.

I eventually relaxed and did the waza somewhat effectively. What a snap! How easy! How stupid I felt! I just stopped fighting and moved right through the technique.

The rest of the waza is a result of the aite losing his position of power and almost drowning in his own strength. The tori just steps into the uke and lets the uke fall of his own accord.

Here's the shihan entering the aite's space with an iriminage as the uke begins to drop to the mat:

Why do I make the simple things so difficult? Why can't I just flow smoothly into things with all the stress and hardship?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Letting Go and Giving In-Sunday July 5th, 2008

Last Sunday was really humid at the dojo. Sweat like pigs. Oh well. We spent almost an hour on this iriminage technique that really stumped me. We enter the partner's space and go behind him. Using no shoulder strength, we drop our hands on the aite's neck and bring them down.

Here, the sensei is teaching me how to place or rather drop my hand on the opponent's shoulder.

The two show us finishing the waza with a tenkan spin. Yeah, that's sensei choreographing my awkward movements.

This last pic is me dropping the aite. After all of sensei's help, I still couldn't do the technique properly. Once I finally did it right, I saw how simple it was. Honestly, I felt so stupid for letting this little bit get in the way. Losing my upper body strength and simply dropping my arm should be as easy as throwing away a soda can. Yet, I always get flustered with this step. For some personal reason, I can't just let go and let things happen naturally.

The Zen irony of this problem is that thinking about it only makes it worse. I have to do it without thinking, without trying. No thought or power, just give in and the let the crumbs fall where they may. I'm getting really Yoda-esque again, so I will wrap this up. Until next time, may the Force be with you.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Nagoya Practice-Sunday June 30th, 2008

Last Sunday, we went up to Rainbow Hall in Nagoya to practice witha Tokyo master. The hour and a half session focused on ikkyo, shihonage among others. I will let the pictures tell the story.

Here is the crowd working on zagi ikkyo ura.

Here we are practicing tenkan. The sensei told us to focus on our arm movements without a partner to get the form right before practcing with a partner.

This is ikkyo ura in the standing form.

Here, a woman completes ikkyo ura with a takedown armlock manuever.

Last picture. Here, the sensei is demonstrating a new technique with a student. Iriminage, it seems.

After that, we stood in line carwash-style to take showers. It was quite hot humid that day. Then our group went for dinner and drinks. The rest of the evening is a bit of blur, to be honest.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Timing is Everything-呼吸投げの話-Sunday, June 15th, 2008

We only practiced 2 or 3 techniques on Sunday. That means we did each one for 20-30 minutes. Great way to focus on tiny details.

Our last technique is one that I have always had difficulty performing. The aite approaches us with a shomen attack. With most wazas, the tori would respond with a kiriage from the same hand. Here, we spin backwards into the opponent's space and grab their wrist with our opposite hand. Our other hand is brought up straight against the underside of their arm to guide their movement. This is done while spinning and dropping to our knees. We don't need to pull them, just guide their momentum to the mat.

Enough of my explanations, I will show you the video.

私にはこの技がとっても難しい。受けは正面打ちで取りに来る。取りは相手のスペースに入って180度転換する。その事をしながら、反対の手で相手の手首を掴んで違う腕は相手の腕の下に上げる。 終わりは自分の体を下げる。相手の腕を引っ張るの代わりに相手の勢いで受けを導く。畳に。


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Twist and Spin with Sumiotoshi-June 8th, 2008

Sunday we practiced one technique the whole night. The waza involves irimintenkan while spinning our hand directly over the hand grabbing us. If done properly, the aite's baody is forced down into an unbalanced psoition. We then spin our arm out and snap their arm straight. The final move is to enter their space and twist their arm, bringing their head down sharply. The aite then does tobiukemi to protect themselves.

Here's the teacher demonstrating sumiotoshi.

Some key points I learned on Sunday drastically improve the technique. First is, when doing irimintenkan, we should project our hands out forward more. This pushes the aite into a more awkward position. The next spin will be much easier at this point.

The second point I picked up on was not to push our partner's arm when we deliver the final move. I was constanly pushing their arm. It hurts them and doesn't bring the head down. Instead, sensei said to come up from below and twist their arm downwards. This snap/twist jerks their whole body into place.

Above, we see sensei move into irimintenkan. Note the curling of his hand directly on top of mine.

Here see the end result. Me getting thrown to the mat. 'Nuff said!

I think I got it right a few times. Still have a bad habit of pushing, using shoulder strength. Unlearning can be much harder than learning in the first place.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Little Hands, Big Spirits-June 5th, 2008

Wednesday I went to the evening practice. I went early to watch the kids' lessons. I don't often get a chance to watch this, so I was quite happy. They don't have the same discipline as some of the adults, but they looked so eager to try the various wazas. Their growing bodies are so flexible, they often move naturally in the correct positions. I have included a few pics for you guys to see.

Here we see the little girl doing an ura technique. Next pic, she is delivering the final step and the boy has been brought down to the mat.

Children are naturally active and have lots of energy for playing and such. Typically, they have more energy than most of us, eh?

This last photo shows them lined up ready to receive training.

The scene looks rather Master Yoda-ish, I suppose. It stills amazes me that they can sit still for so long. Perhaps I need to take a lesson or two from them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Two Fisted Tales 諸手取りの話

Saturday night we practiced the two-handed morotedori techniques. All night. Nothing but. Our first technique of the night was kokyuunage. Omote and ura. The waza involves us stepping into the aite while twisting their body into an unbalanced position. Then we drop them. Sounds simple, eh? Nope.

My partner and I constantly made the mistake of using shoulder strength. Wrong for two reasons. One, the technique does not work and our partner does not move into a weak stance. Two, both of us quickly became very tired from using our shoulders. Our strength gave out and it was difficult to raise our arms into position.

Here, the sensei practices with my partner and shows us how to do it properly.



次のわざは諸手取り小手返しだった。初め以外、全部の小手返しの技は似ている。諸手取りで掴まられていて取りは転換して受けを投げる。 このビデオでは、有段者二人がその技をやっている。