Showing posts from December, 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

Just got directed to this site from Marcelo Garcia which features a slew of searchable videos.
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:

Playing the game

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.

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:

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"

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

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:
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

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

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?

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…