Today I did a private Aikido lesson AND stayed for the Aikido class. That brings my total sessions to 10.
My co-worker, Nathan, began Aikido today. Nathan is brand-new to Aikido, and I’m sharing my private lesson time with him. I think it’s good that he’s there, because as Pat explains things to Nathan from the ground up, I feel like some of my potential deficiencies may get cleared up in the process. In some ways, having a little Aikido experience from a previous dojo has presented a challenge for me. Most of the techniques were the same, but the teaching methods, as well as defense theory associated with them were pretty different. I think hearing the instruction to someone with zero previous experience is filling in some gaps I have, and clearing up leftover misunderstandings. Nathan is also a different body-type to practice with, so I think that’s helpful as well.
We began the lesson by practicing the first half of tegatana no kata. Then we moved to Release 1, with emphasis on getting off the line and synching up with uke. If tori can time his technique with uke’s footfall, it’s easier to synch up from the very beginning. If you do it just right, you can start out in synch immediately. From there, we worked on flowing with uke and finding good times to separate (by a “bump” timed with uke’s footfall to one direction or the other).
Something for me to remember:
1) The bump should not be a “grab, pull/push, and release”; it should be instant.
We then worked on a Nijusan #2 off-balance, into a Nijusan #6. Pat talked more about the “evasion first” mindset.
Something else for me to remember:
1) When turning uke’s arm over for a #6, it’s easier to bring my body to his arm, then apply my weight, than it is for me to try to pull/force his arm into position.
For the Aikido class, we began by working on the Nijusan #2 off-balance, with the idea of tori stepping into the “hole” in front of uke’s feet (his line of weakness). Here again, the timing concept came up – by timing the off-balance to uke’s footfall, it worked MUCH better. Uke’s step should be when tori off-balances using the arm and steps into the hole. Maybe that will just click with me one day, but so far, I still have to be reminded. We then moved into several repetitions of aigamaeate, followed by lots of repetitions of shomenate.
Things for me to remember:
1) in shomenate, don’t pull uke to turn him around. As you evade, if he wants to engage you (has intent), he’ll turn around himself.
2) The deflection/off-balance should be straight out, not downward, as in my previous experience. This made more sense to me given the goal of separation/evasion. Back when my goal was a pretty off-balance, a downward deflection seemed to suit the technique. I really like my new dojo!
3) Use unbendable arm in the evasion. This will cause more separation and cause the 2 bodies to bounce apart like pool balls (tori evading at roughly 90 degrees). Tori should not “glance” off of uke, as that puts him in danger for far too long.
Pat talked about how it might be a good idea to shout things like “Stop! Help! What are you doing?!?” when defending yourself, so that it’s clear to witnesses that you’re not assaulting some poor guy. That may help you if/when the authorities document what happened. It also gets people’s attention and may get you some help. I thought of how funny it would be to take that to the extreme, and yell things like “I’m clearly outmatched!” or something to go into articulate detail while you’re busting some guy.
Lastly, Pat talked about the “Tripod” of Opportunity, Ability, and Intent in relation to defense. We discussed how all 3 need to be present in our attacker for him to be a danger to us. We talked about how different techniques might remove one of the three. We also briefly talked about the “Use of Force ladder”.