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Showing posts from 2009

Kangeiko, Day 4

Just a handful of us in the morning, but we had one visitor from out of state, which was a nice change.
We spent the class working on the first 4 releases where one person did the release with 3 others attacking him, one after the other, from wherever they stood. After that, we did the same thing over again, but now adding a hand change.
The interesting thing to me was the difference in timing between all the participants. The two brown belts tended to be almost startled most of the time, if even in a very subtle way. Even though they knew what release we were supposed to be doing, they weren't sure which hand to stick out, who was attacking next, or even if they had remembered to do the right release (I kept telling them I didn't care; as long as they got off the line and kept moving, aikido would come out). Most of their reactions fell along the lines of, "Oh, crap, I'm being attacked! What do I do?"
The shodan, however, seemed a little more in control. He could …

Kangeiko, Day 1 & 2

I'm not getting nearly the same cool information as those who are able to attend the mid-morning and mid-afternoon sessions, but I've benefitted from what little I can attend.
Yesterday (day 2), I accidentally slept through my alarm and missed morning aikido. I never do that. In fact, for the most part, it takes an act of God to keep me from making morning classes (or maybe illness or broken down car). If anything, I usually wake up on my own before my alarm. I don't really know what happened.
Unfortunately, I missed seeing what Nick Lowry Sensei had to offer by way of some randori and multiple attacker instruction. Maybe there will be a video someday =)
I made it to the noon class, where Jim Ellison Sensei took everyone through a series of simple exercises that help you "go with the flow" of uke's movement. Great stuff, but stuff I've been through before, so nothing new there.
This morning, on the other hand, I woke up for some strange reason at 4 in the mor…

Kangeiko, Day 1

To be honest, I'm not able to take this week off and participate in the mid-day sessions, but I will be in the morning class as usual, plus the Tuesday and Thursday noon classes. I'd like to make at least one evening block of classes, but we'll see.If you'd like to check out a few pics of today's morning session, which dealt with aikido randori and multiple attackers, as well as the afternoon session, which dealt with a lot of sword work from jodo and aikido's san kata (plus future day sessions), check our Derek Hall's new blog and Kyle Sloan Sensei's blog.For my little morning class, Kyle was nice enough to stop in and he watched us do a little hop randori for a while, and then had him chime in on what we need to work on.After that, I was eager to pick his brain about escape ideas from kazure kamishiho gatame, and ushiro kesa gatame.Tomorrow, for aikido, I have no idea if anyone out of the ordinary will stop by, but otherwise, I think we'll follow …

Where are the kata gatame escapes?

As I sit around the house on Christmas Eve, the snow falling outside, the tree lit, and presents still to wrap, I'm thinking about many things. Oddly enough, one of them is kata gatame.


I started out just thinking about transitioning, being held by one hold, escaping, and then establishing a hold of your own. It works well for most of the main holds (that I know of), except for yoko shiho gatame, with which the main escape puts the other guy in sankaku jime, and kata gatame, with which the escapes I know of anyway put the guy in an arm bar or a choke.So I wondered if I were missing some escape ideas, particularly from kata gatame, and naturally started searching YouTube. I found a few explanations of the hold itself, but no escapes. Anyone know of any videos out there? While I kow the Kaze Uta Budo Kai forum will feature some osae komi waza soon, I wonder if they're go over any escapes I haven't seen yet.At any rate, stop thinking about budo, people, for one lousy minute an…

Marcelo Garcia BJJ site

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Just got directed to this site from Marcelo Garcia which features a slew of searchable videos.
https://www.mginaction.com/
One of the first videos I watched had to with an arm bar known in jujutsu (jiu-jitsu, whatever) circles as the "omoplata" (it looks like embedding his videos on a blog is allowed, but you can follow the link). In the judo world, however, it would most likely be refferred to as sometimes referred to as ude-garami or sankaku-garami ("triangular entanglement") or ashi-garami ("leg entanglement").
For whatever reason, it's not one that I've ever spent time on, and never knew existed until I started investigating BJJ a little. Frankly, I'm intrigued. I've seen a few odd ball entrances to it, which at first made me wrinkle my nose (a little too complex for my taste), but I've since seen a few that looked a little more palatable, such as this entry from Derek Hall at our humble li'l dojo:


I'm looking forward to playin…

Kotohajime, the New Year

I ran across this nugget of information while reading Dave Lowry's In the Dojo:
"Making ready for the new year is called kotohajime in Japan. In the dojo, kotohajime custimarily begins on December 13th. On or near this day, in addition to the daily cleaning chores in the training hall, every crack is swept, every cranny carefully dusted or cleaned. Floors and other wooden surfaces are given a polishing. Windows are thrown up to air out the place.
"December 13th, however, is also the day when pupils of all the traditional arts dress in formal kimono and pay a visit to their masters or teachers to thank them for all their efforts. Martial artists, as well as students of pottery, tea ceremony, calligraphy, and other disciplines, present their teachers with small gifts and talk about the previous year's training."
While I don't own a kimono, I still thought it was kind of a nice little tradition, one that the author mentions is becoming more and more rare. I'm …

Lightness of touch

Wonderful demonstration of lightness from Daniel Messisco, 6th Dan. Jim Ellison Sensei has this very sort of touch, and I wish had even a glimmer of it. Perhaps in another 20 years or so.



There's actually several snippets from various seminars on this channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/dendando

Playing the game

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Once upon a time, it was really very easy to figure out which martial discipline was better, you simply looked to the battle field. If the practitioners of one style tended to die a lot, then that probably wasn't the best way to go about. The ones who walked away alive, however, must have been doing something right.
Even then, without the benefit of any battles being held conveniently nearby, you could always send your best students over to the other guy's school and have the compete against their best guys and whoever won, maintained the bragging rights. I believe Kano once put his boys up against the Tokyo police and won quite handily (and I believe judo is now standard training for the police).
But now, well, now you have arts like jodo, iaido and whatnot (the kyuryu, old school arts), who don't have the opportunity to use what they know in any sort of real, practical, battlefield application, and spend much if not all of their time in kata. I imagine that they assume tha…

Options from O goshi

Not long ago, Nick Lowry Sensei mentioned how we ought to beware of falling in love with harai goshi. Rather, he encouraged us to focus on o goshi, because if you understand and internalize that one, all the other hip throw ideas will build on it. If you can do o goshi, in other words, you can do all the rest, but if you only focus on one of the peripheral throws, you'll only really have that one throw.
So, I myself have been trying to follow that advice for a while, and I've been trying to help the morning class do the same.





This week, we've started by doing a throwing line on the crash pad, getting in a number of o goshi throws. From there, we worked with a few failure conditions.
1) Hani goshi I asked Kyle Sloan Sensei about this one recently, mostly because I don't do it a whole lot and I don't totally understand it. I mean, I kind of understand it, but it's not "internalized" if that makes any sense. He said he didn't do it a whole lot either, bu…

Sankaku jime... almost

Three of us worked on a few sankaku entries on Monday, and it went... well, not quite as expected. Basically, most of us had a hard time getting the legs fully clasped with the foot of one leg behind the knee of the other. We could do it well enough on the escape from yokoshiho gatame, but the first version done from the turtle in this video turned out to be tricky.

Usually I can manage it okay, but I think the two guys I was working with then were a little more... "beefy" shall we say than what I'm used to. As for the other two, their own flexibility might be an issue in addition to the size of the uke, and in one case, with a dude who has spent a lot of time working out, his own thick thigh muscles might be getting in his own way.
Mostly, I want them to start thinking of their feet and legs to be just as useful as their own hands. Tomorrow, we'll probably go over the same drills as Monday (maybe an additional one), and see if we can't iron out some wrinkles.
I…

uchi mata sukashi

Sorry, I've been doing a lot of video surfing for some reason, and I find some interesting things. Like this rather different approach to uchi mata sukashi.



And though the embedding is disabled, this is a nice example of the classical uchi mata sukashi in tournament play:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAWweEE2QR4

Old judo film

The YouTube channel JuYokuGoOSeisu has a number of sequences from an old judo film that have served as a pretty nice reference for me (although you'll have to wade through a bunch of other stuff to find them). They start with the basic application of a classic technique and then show a few forms of it. They were originally narrated in English, but there's a Spanish voice over covering up what the original is saying. Still, you can get a pretty good idea of what's going on just by watching.

This one, on sankaku jime, is one example (since we'll be looking at sankaku issues this week in morning class).

Defense against... well, an "object"

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A few months ago, I read a story about the mayor of Milwaukee getting beat by a thug with a pipe, and it got me thinking about self defense training against a weapon.
Now, one of the nice things about aikido is that the principles and techniques still work much the same way whether your attacker is empty handed or not. But, I've also noticed that for some reason, it seems to be human nature that when a person sees an attacker with something in their hand, they freeze, as if their conscious mind says, "Wait a minute. I've never practiced with this before—what on earth do I do?"
This may be only a momentary hesitation, granted. Once the guy attacks, I'm sure our subconscious mind will take over. Still, that hesitation could make a lot of difference. That, and someone asked me about weapon defense not long ago, and it occurred to me that as far as kata goes, we don't typically deal with weapons until san kata, around 2nd or 3d dan.
Sooooo, just for the heck of it, …

Seitei jo demonstration

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Nice video demonstration of the 12 seitei no kata. Unfortunately, it starts at hissage (#3, skipping 1 and 2) and the embedding for this video was disabled, but you can view it at YouTube here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biSJdRuR6i0
And as there are precious few videos available on jo, I was disappointed that the old Japanese seitei jo instructional movie that someone had converted and uploaded was "removed" (no doubt due to copywrite issues). Alas...

Take a moment, pause

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I don't have much to say other than to make note of a small moment I experienced earlier this morning.
When I arrive at the dojo in the early mornings during the winter, it's still very dark and bitterly cold. So, too, is the dojo itself. I come in, turn on the lights, turn on the heater and wait for things to warm up. I used to leave my bag which contained my gi in my car all the time, but climbing into a stiff gi that's been sitting outside all night in the freezing cold is not the most pleasant experience, so I've began bringing it inside when I come home after work (when I remember).
Needless to say, it takes a while to get the blood flowing and the joints loose. Once you get going, though, the darkness and the cold seem to fade away. When you can enjoy a good session with a friendly partner, where both of you learn and grow, the warmth begins to emanate from inside.
After class was over this morning, we got dressed and filed out of the dressing room as usual. The way…

Jodo videos

There isn't a whole lot of videos out there, this channel has a few old movies that are kind of nice, such as this version of tachi otoshi from omote.

YouTube Sensei

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For some reason, I never saw a lot of taiotoshi in my early years in judo. After a few periods of absence, I came back to judo and found myself in a situation where the only time I could do it was during my lunch hour. Problem was, there was no judo noon judo class at the time. So I had to start one. The other problem was, I was barely a nidan, and if you ever want to get a good idea of how little you really know, try running a class all by yourself.

Here I was, pretty rusty from having been out of it for a while, and really not as experienced as I'd like to be, running a class. I quickly realized I needed help from anywhere I could get it. The forums are nice, but to be honest, it's hard for me to get an accurate idea of a physical action through someone's written description.
I was at least fortunate to have a handful of students who attended other judo classes, which were taught by people much more qualified than me. As you might imagine, it takes a good deal of humility…

Yes, but is it PRACTICAL?

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It seems like just about every issue we look at in aikido, judo or jodo ultimately gets measured by many of the budoka I know against the ruler of "practicality."
Of course, the word "practical" can really mean a lot of things. But for the most part, they seem to be thinking about what is commonly referred to "the street." Essentially, everyone wants to know how the things, or a specific thing, will help them "on the street," meaning in a physical confrontation with another human being bent on doing us bodily harm. Occasionally, that definition is expanded to include non-physical confrontations (such as a pushy, argumentative or angry person).
The art that seems hardest for many students (typically the younger ones, kyu ranks to early dan grades) is definitely jodo. And I've heard a number of explanations over the years about the various subtle, amorphous ways it can be "practical," even though we don't walk around with 4 foot st…

No need to rush it

I've been enjoying many videos of Seishiro Endo Shihan at various seminars this morning. In particular, I like the soft, tension redirection drill he covers in this one:



I think I'm going to experiment with it in class tomorrow. I also like the idea he talks about here of moving without hurrying or rushing. His movements at the end with a couple of attackers is beautiful in it's simplicity and lightness:



Congratulations, you're a brown belt

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At last, you've earned your brown belt.For one thing, you're not the "new guy" anymore! You know how to fall pretty well by now, so you don't look to awkward out there. You know some names, your appearance in class has become almost expected, you know a few inside jokes. You're one of the gang! Heck, you even get to be the "senior" partner sometimes! Life is good.Then you notice something. Every time the black belt leading the class needs to demonstrate something, he picks... you. You notice that this means you fall down—a lot. In judo, you get thrown down, a lot. You get arm barred and choked and pinned. A lot. What's going on here? Why are they always picking on you, for crying out loud?Well, here's the funny thing: you're actually lucky. For starters, you are more than likely singled out because you make a good uke, which means, you have good ukemi and a good working knowledge of the material. Take it as a compliment!It's also a t…

Unusual ukemi

I've been really intrigued by these arialbackfalls. Most of the ukemi I learned consisted of the straight backfall (as in squat, roll back and up onto your shoulders), the side fall, the forward roll, and the flipping version of the forward roll where you basically slam into the mat, and maybe the front fall where you land on your forarms and you feet kick up into the air and you land like you're sort of breakdancing.Which seems to cover most of the bases, but I'm sure that these aren't totally unnecessary. The regular backfall seems to suffice in many instances, but there have been times when both feet cleared the mat and I ended up landing flat on my back which nearly knocked the wind out of me. (Someone caught me in a good ushiro ate a month or so ago which prompted that sort of fall.) I wonder if this sort of rolling approach would take away a lot of that flat impact.
I wonder if the sort of falling we do stems from a judo background (since both Mr. Tomiki and Mr. G…

Seichiro Endo sensei

Lovely, soft work from Seichiro Endo Sensei. (I also like the judo-esque tai otoshi in the middle there...)

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The benefits of a crash pad

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I had a discussion the other day with some of my classmates about the use of the crash pad, and it brought about an interesting point that some may miss in the course of our training. There are two main reasons why I like to use the crash pad, not only when teaching and leading class, but when I myself am training.The first reason, is perhaps the most obvious one: landing on a crash pad over and over is a lot easier on uke than landing and the harder mat over and over. And if we learn more the higher number of reps we do, it makes sense to do it in a way that will allow us to do it with less ware and tear on our bodies.If you're just learning ukemi, say as a white or green belt, the crash pad can not only protect you when you're fall isn't 100% right, but it also takes a lot of the fear out of falling. Let's face it, the last thing we want to do is walk into a dojo and break something within the first couple of months.When you ease that fear a little with a crash pad, …

The cycle of ego

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I've noticed several benefits of training in the martial arts over the years, many of which I never anticipated on the outset (I suspect few of us do). One such benefit involves tempering of my ego.
When I say "ego" I'm referring to the definition that reflects one's self-esteem, self-image or sense of self-worth, for better or worse. When I first started as a white belt, I was, needless to say, the least experienced person in the entire school. That feeling is pretty humbling, naturally. Fortunately, the feelings of inadequacy were often tempered by the kindness and patience of my teachers.
As I progressed and learned I acquired some skills and a certain amount of proficiency. At the same time, newer students who were less experienced than I came along, which meant I was no longer the least experienced or "worst" aikidoka.
Once I got to the position of being the higher ranking, more experienced person in a pair, even as a brown belt, my ego (or self-image…

Judo kuzushi: Push/Pull

I've known about this little kazushi trick for a while now, and it's proven very useful over the years.


Recently, however, I've started playing with a little variation. I'll use my right hand (the collar grip to do the light "on/off" action to uke's shoulder as he's stepping back. Then, instead of using both hands flicking back to get him pitched forward, I'll simply lift my left elbow. The right hand stays out of it, and my left does literally nothing more than raise the elbow (the hand does nothing).
Using both hands, it seems, you get a fairly even reaction, and as Nick says, you can jump in there for any number of throws. With the method I just described, uke's reaction tends to be somewhat lopsided. I "tick" him to his back left corner, then "tock" him to his right front corner. Mostly, it's a nice set-up for harai tsurikomi ashi, just a little more diagonal. The elbow or the wrist do basically the same thing, I thi…

Nage komi video

A lovely bit of nage komi with Nick Lowry sensei and Greg Ables sensei.

Aikido brought to life

"Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of Aikido are brought to life."

—Morihei Ueshiba

Standing on the shoulders of giants

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In a post the other day, I talked about how trying to decide which art is best is kind of silly, especially when thinking about what we do as an "art". Then Sensei Strange talked about the evolution of an art as compared to the koryu schools, who would like to keep things pretty much as they had been done for centuries. Both of us even mentioned Picasso, and it reminded me of something.
In college, where I studied graphic design, there would always be students who wanted to push the envelope with their work, like with typography, for example. They'd seen the likes of designer David Carson, who got all crazy with type, grunged it up, used numbers for letters, and completely turned it on it's head in ways that had never been seen before, and wanted to do take the same kind of creative leaps. The professors, meanwhile, had a bit of a challenge on their hands.

On one hand, they didn't want to stifle a young student's creative urges. They didn't want to say, No,…

Which art is best?

I recently read this interesting article on Aikido Journal by Toby Threadgill, entitled "Assumptions." It begins: "Recently I was introduced to a gentleman interested in martial arts training. He was not really aware of what I teach or of what constitutes Nihon Koryu Jujutsu. He just assumed that because I taught it, that I must believe it to be “the best”. When I told him I did not believe the art I taught to be “the best”, an uncomfortable silence ensued. I finally broke this taciturn moment by explaining that there is actually no such thing as a “best” martial art."It's a nice article, and I don't think I could improve upon it by anything that I say. Ultimately, no one is bulletproof. No art art will save you 100% of the time under 100% of circumstances. And the purpose of studying any given art will be vastly different from a police officer to a retired school teacher. In terms of practicallity, it's almost like saying a hammer is the best tool out …

How to develop great ukemi

I apologize if I lured you into this post expecting some super secret trick to developing great ukemi skills. Alas, there is none, not that I know of, anyway.I write this because some of the shodans in the morning class have commented on how their air falls are not what they'd like them to be, and compliment me ad naseum on my falling. This fall in particular, , the one where you do a flip with your wrist twisted up, seems beyond their grasp (at the 1:10 mark): It's a tough one, for sure. That, and the fall from sumi otoshi, are some of the scariest (a flippy fall from o soto gari, where you start going backwards, is pretty hairy, too).They mentioned how they admire many other great ukemi artists in the school, such Nick Lowry, Kyle Sloan, Greg Ables, Christian Lamson, Cameron Seimans and Damon Kornele (and many more).While they all have wonderful ukemi, I don't know what their secrets are. I only know how I got to where I am.1) While I'm now 35, I started aikido—and l…

Arm bar series

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So many things I'd like to write about, so many things rattling around in my head, but not enough hours in the day. This morning, for instance, Prentis Glover stopped by morning glass (he had Veteran's Day off of work, it seems), and was kind enough to take us through a lovely arm bar series. I'd seen the first chunk of it, but either hadn't seen or completely forgotten the latter half.It starts with tori holding kesa gatame (let's say on uke's right side, for the sake of example). Uke's arm gets free and we get a number of straight arm bars:1) The first is the easiest. My left hand yolks uke's wrist and holds his arm out straight, with the elbow joint on my right thigh. Straight arm bar.2) I can use my left (rear) leg to step over his wrist, pinching uke's wrist in the back of my knee. My knee goes toward the mat, my foot slides back towards uke's foot (his elbow still on my right thigh). Any time you get the leg involved, it's a scary deal…

Blind Aikido practitioner

Short Observational Documentary about Edgar, a blind guy who practices Aikido (courtesy of Funky Buddha).

French aikido instructor Andre Nocquet

One of the folks I've been interested lately is the late French aikido instructor André Nocquet. There's a series of ten or more videos on YouTube from one of his last clinics. This particular  video which features, among other things, some lovely technique against bokken and using a jo which he then extends into empty hand techniques (we don't spend much time with weapons in aikido, which may or may not be a good thing). There's also some interesting, non-shindo muso ryu jodo versus bokken work that I'd never seen.

Give up being right

"All a person has to do is give up being right; step aside, be empty, be selfless—or at least try to approach that state. As soon as the resistance is gone, both persons are free to grow and mature. Instead, we're constantly struggling, hanging onto our own positions and ideas, preventing not only ourselves from growing, but others as well."
Genpo Roshi

Video tour of Windsong

Here's a little tour of the dojo where I train, Windsong Dojo in Oklahoma City.

Attacking around the clock

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You probably thought I was talking about time, I suppose. No, attacking someone 24/7 is just far too tiring. I've got laundry to do, bills to pay....
Actually, what I'm thinking of is a way of thinking about the first five techniques of randori no kata, or the 17, which are grouped together as "atemi waza" or striking techniques. Now, in aikido we don't really "strike" in the same sense as, say, karate, but this is as close as we get. The best way I know (so far) to describe it is as three things:
1) A focused, efficient delivery of power. As in, same hand, same foot, bridging from the back leg, etc.; you can push a stalled car like this, which means that's a heckuva lot of power.
2) Usually at a specific moment during uke's movement, or during kazushi. Although, really, it can be delivered quite effectively even if uke is just standing there minding his own business, but this increases the chances he has to counter.
3) The energy or the power i…

How much is enough?

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How much do I need to know or do to be a "real" or "serious" martial artist?How much history do I need to read? How many Japanese words do I need to memorize? There are so many... How many kata do I need to be proficient in? What about all the variations? Or "old" kata? How much time do I need to spend in the dojo or how many special trips and clinics and play-days do I need to attend? How many years will it take and what rank will I have to earn? Does it matter that I've never been in a street fight or participated in any tournaments?What about all the etiquette? How much of it do I need to know, or to follow? How much of the clothing do I need to wear, and what is the absolute correct way to wear it? Does my dojo have to look like a "real" Japanese dojo? Do I need a hanko stamp or own a set of long and short samurai swords?Are all the arts that aren't mine "bad" arts, or not as effective as my art, especially if they wear a l…

Simple, complex, then simple again

As a follow-up to what I wrote yesterday...
When I look at not only budo, but the process of learning to be an artist, or a graphic designer, it seems to follow a common path: You start with simple things (basics), then the whole system seems to get vast and complex, then after years and years, it all seems simple again!
I've lost track of all the red-and-white belts who talk about a technique in terms of "well, all you have to do is this..." as if it were the simplest thing in the world, even though it confounds the student. I had an art teacher in college do the same thing. I find myself, as a designer, saying something similar to kids fresh out of college.
And I don't mind going through the complex system. It's just that I think the complex system should still be presented in a simple way, without lots and lots of explanation, history, yada yada.
Using mnemonic devises, for example. Or the whole "3 feet on a line" concept from judo works wonderfully for…

Foot sweep drill, part 6

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The next step in this whole experiment was to think about a second follow-up throw, building this into more than a series of foot sweep drills, per se, but combination drills. I got a chance to play around with some ideas this morning, and came across some interesting ideas.
Foot Sweep Series 1: Uke retreating
As a brief reminder, this is the section where we sweep and catch uke's foot, hold it for a brief moment, until he pulls his own foot free and pulls it into a backward step. These, then, were the throws we did after this first step:
First Follow Up Throw
The main 3: 1) (foot pointed forward) O soto gari/guruma 2) (foot pointed at uke) Sasae tsurikomi ashi 3) (foot pointed away) O goshi
Additional possibilities: 4) (taking a shortened step, elbow up) Harai tsurikomi ashi 5) (foot in between uke's, turned in) Ko uchi gari 6) (from a right footed sweep, step in between uke's, kick feet out) Uchi mata 7) (from a right footed sweep, step in between uke's, let him cycle a little mo…

Simplify, simplify

Before the birth of my first child, a friend recommended a book to me that proved to be invaluable during the first 8 months to year of my son's life. It taught parents 5 simple steps to help calm a colicky baby (those who cry for reasons other than the usual, such as hunger, the need for sleep, a dirty diaper, etc.)The problem was, in order to make a full book—and in order to make the money a full book makes—the author (and editors, probably) packed it full of fluff. What I could give to another person in the span of a ten minute conversation was inflated into a 300 page door stop.I seem to be encountering a lot of that lately. I started reading a book tonight on the subject of aikido and quickly became both lost and bored. Philosophy can be like that, too. Religion, how-to books, self-improvement, etc. Volumes of words that do nothing but confuse me more.I ask questions (both relating to budo and otherwise) of those who would know, and get paragraphs of what is, to my mind, gibb…

Big boy judo: tani otoshi counter

I can't get enough of Arkadiy Aronov, a sizable chap from Uzbekistan who coaches at the Spartak Sports Club in New York. It can be a little tough deciphering the accent, but I get a lot just by watching him.
One of the videos I've been enjoying is this rather simple counter to tai otoshi (one of my favorite throws at the moment). Our school has always emphasized the idea of "dancing" out of a throw to counter, which comes quite naturally to those judoka who also happen to do aikido. I also like keeping it simple.