Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's Like They Are Married.....

The class on Sunday I taught was awesome.  It had it's stressful moments however.  At one point Peter started in again resisting technique.  He was doing this for everyone in the class.  Eventually, the other students got annoyed and stopped cooperating entirely when it was Peter's turn.  Peter of course at this stage couldn't make anything work with multiple people in the line.

Then when I had people break off into partners, Peter asked Theo to give him resistance.  Theodore was our visitor from Greece.  Where he comes from they practice a close quarters aikido with resistance.  So he of course was good at it.  Peter couldn't do the simple ikkyo to sankyo technique I had them doing.  Interested in this... I asked if I could try it.  I was able to easily get the technique off.  Which means that I have a good shot at doing this if it matters to someone.  That's super good.  The difference was that I took Theo's balance right away, then got him into a control and never let up on it.  So... the thought I have is that even though I don't often practice with resistance, I can still overcome someone using resistance because I have a reasonable beginning of an idea of how to get kazushi.  The ikkyo I ended up using I didn't think about so much as felt it when I did it.  I could feel his balance and took him to the place where I knew he would be compromised.  This was all done instantaneously.... dynamically.

Then I had another interesting moment.  Theo was doing kaitenage on me.  And... for the first time ever I was stuck as uke.  I've heard Chris complain to me for years that he would get stuck.  And... I never understood it.  I couldn't figure out what was happening to him.  So I just wrote it off as he thinks he's stuck but he's not.  In reality he was stuck.....What I felt that got me in that position was on kaitenage, I often stretch the arm straight up and make a lever out of it.  Somehow, Theo brought it more towards the top of my head as well as being stretched out.  Now.... I have reasonably loose shoulders.  It took that much of an angle to let me feel the lock up.  Maybe Chris is built differently and feels it at a less steep angle.  It probably isn't the arm itself but how the pressure is pushed through my feet into the floor.  But that's the angle it took for me to feel it.  So now... I will pay tons of attention to Chris to see how this is happening and give him an out for his ukemi.

Later in the class I had a bad incident occurring between Chris and Peter.  Peter complained that he wanted Chris to be more resistant.  Chris complained that Peter was not being sensitive to his partners position and could easily inflict injury.  At first I was going to break them up... but I decided that in the end we are better off letting them have the heated discussion.  My moving them around would only delay it.  So I kept them together and tried to intervene when needed.  No one was physical about it... they were just both pissed off.  Each one was trying to make a point and neither one really heard the other.

I tried to talk to each of them at various points.  I told Peter not to push uke further than they wanted to go.

The thing of it is they both have a point.  Chris's point is obvious.... you should be sensitive to your uke's abilities and position and not give them more than they can handle just because you want to practice a certain way.  More than once I've let go of a control or throw because of uke's reaction.  I'd rather let go than take any chance at all of hurting someone.  It just isn't worth it.

Peter's point is more complicated.  There are times when Chris bails out on techniques a bit early.  I think a lot of it is simply because he never developed ukemi to deal with certain positions.  This can easily be learned if he wants.  He's fine if he doesn't as he will be still practicing safely... he just wont be the best partner he could be.  When you stay with the technique everyone benefits.

The interesting thing is that this very class and others I've been trying to get people to be more sensitive to each other.  I started out the class with tai no henko.  Then.... I changed it.... same exercise... but uke isn't allowed to grab.  Uke has to keep a good solid connection to nage.  Nage has to move in a way that doesn't strip uke.  They both have to feel each other.

Also did a rodeo throw with the same thought.  I wanted uke to feel nage.... so that no one felt any pulling.

I have been teaching classes on taking balance and getting partners to be more sensitive to each other for the past couple months.  This reminds me a great deal of how it felt when I first started aikido.  You'd have weeks when you would feel like you are learning lots and other weeks that you felt like you are getting worse or making no progress.  As a teacher I've felt the same way again.  There are weeks I see understanding in the students.  I see techniques improve.... then we get stuck in this resistance rut.

It's not me... it's fostered by the current generation of black belts.  Everyone is so concerned about having effective aikido, no one is realizing that it can be effective and soft at the same time.  That you don't have to use muscle to be effective.

I feel like the lone voice of reason.  I'm amazed anyone comes to my class since my message is so different.

I will continue to try..... as I say to my kids..... I am the river.


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