Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another Lucid Moment (aka. you can lead a horse to water...)

From time to time when studying aikido, I figure something out. Usually, that something has been mentioned in class after class. A teacher can talk about doing something a certain way and it doesn't mean much. Until one day, a moment of realization sets in and you think to yourself.... that's what that teacher was showing me. It could have been something he was showing you 2 years ago too.

I've had moment's like that occasionally. I just had one this week. For easily a couple years now I've seen a technique done by Rob. Start with a wrist grab. Nage goes for an uchi entry, extend uke's arm up and out so uke's balance is up and over one foot. Step behind uke while simultaneously cutting down with the connected hand with a yokomen like cut. Now uke comes around and bounces down and comes back up again as he turns to face nage. With the still connected hand you enter and drive nage's hand/arm up while simultaneously using your other hand on their shoulder to lead uke down.

So.... tough to picture? It's sort of like a kaitenage variation except you stay close to uke, and never hold their head down so they can come up again. You use the hand to drive that up and around in a kaitenage-like manner. The difference is the throw is done from in front of uke instead of behind.

Whenever I saw that technique, what I thought I was seeing was uke coming up from the bounce and nage pulling uke towards him, using flexibility to twist and bend at the waist to slip out of the way. Instead of focusing on just the pulling part, I was never much paying attention to the other arm which should have been pushing at the same time. I was certainly making it work. I still had kazushi, was using no muscle and relied on flexibility to do the throw. Over and over again in the past years, Rob would mention that you are moving BOTH arms in conjunction. One is pushing, the other is leading/pulling. For whatever reason, this finally clicked in class Monday night.

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