Sunday, March 27, 2016

Aikido - The Polite Martial Art

Excuse me sir.... unhand that person and be a good chap and lie down for me will you??

Think that works?  Nah.  I don't think that would work either.

I'm usually a laid back kind of practitioner.  If someone isn't doing things my way.... well... maybe there is something to learn there.  My way of doing things isn't the only way or necessarily always the correct way.  However, one thing I always do is make some attempt to get kazushi and perform a technique to its completion.

This morning I once again had a conversation with one of our members about his practice.  I've practiced with him for years and I've only really brought this up to him one other time.  He doesn't finish his techniques.  Sometimes, his techniques are sloppy(doesn't stand in a safe place).  I don't mind the sloppy nearly as much.  We all have our off days or holes in our practice.  In practice today, I just finally got tired of just taking ukemi and not giving this guy honest feedback.  The only way any of us can get better is if we are aware of what we are doing wrong.

For one technique, he was standing right in front of me when he did it on his left side.  His right was fine.  When I mentioned it to him, he commented that I couldn't hit him.  So on our next turn, I gave him a quick, light, rap on the abdomen.  Nothing that hurt, but enough to let him know that he was in range.  I told him him to do the tenkan irimi that he was doing on the other side as the teacher showed it.  He kept doing the same thing wrong but I let it go after that.

The sloppy thing continued.  Often times he struggles to do a really good nikkyo.  When he misses it which is 95% of the time, he ends up grabbing fingers.  Once again I tell him that although he has a good grip on my fingers, he's not in a good place.  I told him I could hit him.  He said.... oh yea... go ahead and try.  I didn't bother to hit him.  It was obvious to me that his response was going to be to crank my fingers.  What he doesn't understand is that I could have hit him hard and fast and he might not even have time to crank on my fingers.  Even if he did, there are a lot of people that would be ok with a possible broken finger if it meant pounding him into the pavement so hard he looked like street pizza.  I don't think hitting him hard to make my point would have been received well so I just let it go.  If he doesn't believe me.... oh well.

This goes along with the rest of the problem.  He doesn't finish techniques.  Anyone who know him will know exactly what person I'm talking about.  I've heard it from other students too.  He just doesn't finish them.  He'll take something like a kotagaeshi to the point where it's set up and then will just stop.  Or he'll be doing a kaitenage and he will get uke down and place uke's arm behind the back and then stop.

The reason this annoys me is because it affects the other students.  This guy teaches beginners.  The last set of beginners that came through mixed in with the normal class.  When they first came in, they were doing the exact same thing.  They would do a technique and then just stop before finishing it.  This is really bad.  This defective aikido is being taught and unfortunately, it's being learned.  Luckily at least in one beginners case I know it's mostly been corrected.  Since he mixed in with regular classes he's started finishing his techniques.

After class, I spoke to him as politely as I could manage and he said he thought it would be rude/impolite to finish the technique.  I told him if he was really concerned about hurting someone then maybe he needs to finish but just go slow enough so that partners can tap or keep up.  I also told him that he doesn't have to worry about hurting me and other experienced folks.  That maybe he should just do it and for the beginners just keep it slow and steady.

He nodded a bit and indicated he understood me but I think in the back of his mind he was thinking screw you.  He wasn't looking very open minded at that moment.  He just said yes to me to shut me up.

Maybe I need to bring it up a different way.  Maybe next time we are at a seminar and the 6th dan whomever does a technique, I can ask him if he thinks the Shihan is being a dick.

This guy must be really rude.... look how his ukes are forced to take ukemi.

There are some really cool principles here in this video if you haven't seen it.  He is doing something to the shoulder around 6:15 that I like.  In the last class I actually found myself in an 'incorrect' position for the technique.  I had control of uke's shoulder with my shoulder and was able to do that horseshoe shaped motion we usually do with our hands on the shoulder.  But I was doing it with my shoulder instead because I had good contact.  I was getting a good reaction from my uke too.  I could feel that it was working.  I think he may be doing something similar in the video with his hand but the horseshoe shaped motion is so small you can't really see it.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Open Mat Night

Only three of us showed, so we gave Mr/ Mulligan a break and had an open mat night instead of class.  Mulligan asked me to work on Tony's Tai No Henko.  Chris helped by describing that we are not pulling the hand / arm of uke but instead using that as a pivot point.

Despite this advice I could feel Tony coming in with a stiff arm.  All those years of judo have him doing this.  I told him that what Chris said was true but what is also good is to loosen everything up.  Instead of coming in with a stiff arm.... make his arms loose.  I reminded him that you could hold something and still have no power in your shoulder or elbow.

After some practice his left side started to feel pretty good.  The right side was still stiff.  By the time he sees this again in class I expect he will be starting from scratch again.  You never know.

Tonight I was looking over some youtube videos and I found this one.  I'm not sure at what point understanding came to me but I see what he's doing in this video.  I'm not sure if I saw this a few years ago that I would have understood what he's talking about.