Monday, June 19, 2017

Arnis again?

I guess Peter isn't back from vacation as yet.  On Sunday Chris taught.  It was ok.  He had us doing some appropriate stuff including a sumi-otoshi variation. We did a very direct iriminage.  We did some good techniques for our new guy to be working on.  Although honestly, we should be doing test techniques for him. He's been around long enough we should be going over the 5th kyu techniques.  Maybe they did some of that in his other classes.

Mr. Mulligan asked Chris to have me show what we were doing Friday night with our guest instructor.  Problem is, I got hung up and called the dojo Friday night to tell them I would be really late.  I missed a good chunk of class that night.  Actually, I had an amusing quandary.  I arrived with class in full swing Friday night with the guest instructor obviously teaching.  When I finished dressing, I waited at the mat edge for recognition so I could enter the mat and bow in.  While waiting, Bob tells me to just come on.  Now, I'm confused.  I know etiquette means I should wait for the teacher to let me on the mat but my normal teacher said to get on.  So I stood there confused for a moment when Mr. Mulligan gets clearly annoyed and tells me I should be listening to Bob and get on the mat.  So I enter the mat at this point.

This is one of those moments where I was attempting to use my best judgement.  Mr. Mulligan got annoyed with me real fast.  I think it may because of his background in the marines.  When an 'officer' gives an order you just follow it.  Well.... I've never been in the military.  I will never just 'take orders' blindly.  Although when the chief instructor tells me to listen and get on the mat, I kinda felt like I was let off the hook in terms of insulting our guest instructor.  Now....later on I found out that Bob was the one that actually bowed the class in.  So theoretically that helps too?  In any event it didn't matter much.  Either our guest didn't notice one more dan in the room or didn't care that I hopped on late.

Anyway.... so I show the Sunday class some of what we were doing from the Friday night class.

After that Chris had us doing this horrible striking exercise.  with a jodan tsuki attack, he wanted us to enter and strike to the face with our rear hand and roundhouse strike to the kidneys with the forward hand.

I'm not saying this isn't effective.  I'm not even saying this is a bad thing to know.  What I will say is that this is not aikido.  There was no technique following the atemi.  It was just atemi.  If we really want to train as strikers we should do it and pull out the pads.  My biggest worry is that it's feeding the people coming up with notions that we need to ignore kazushi in favor of striking.  The current thinking is that some of the students are getting it into their head that if they come up with the perfect technique or position, they will be able to impose their will on their aggressor.  And... that's the problem.  We should be learning to deflect and blend with attacks.  Not initiate our own.

Many seem less interested in learning how to properly take kazushi.  I just hope that not all the teachers keep stressing this atemi for atemi sake.  I had a short conversation with a 2 year student on the way out the door.  He's interested in learning "practical aikido".  As if aikido with more strikes is more practical.  Nothing wrong with strikes but if you can do the technique just by off-balancing someone why wouldn't you want to learn to do that first?


At June 19, 2017 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Grasshopper... if you search you can find the quote from O'Sensei that "atemi is 90% of Aikido". Check out pictures of him and you'll usually see one of his fists in somebody's face or body.
What your instructor might have been doing is not so much the complete technique, but trying to get people used to striking. Watch someone who's never hit anything before - you'll probably see that either they aren't doing it in a way that "could" injure their target, or they're doing it in a way that could damage their own hand/wrist.
So, yes, SOME amount of time should be spent teaching HOW to strike.


At June 19, 2017 3:24 PM, Blogger Poxbox said...

Never said atemi isn't part of aikido. But.... it's PART of aikido. Not a replacement for aikido. There is a growing sentiment at that dojo that wants to concentrate on striking. I see no reason to encourage it especially for people that haven't even learned aikido yet. And... if we are learning to strike. This exercise wasn't it. No power can be delivered in the way that this punching exercise was taught. As I said... if we are going to learn how to strike.... lets pull the pads out and do it.


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