Showing posts from February, 2010

Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 3

When it comes to this whole "lining up" idea, the real light bulb moment for me came with kouchi and ouchi gari. First, let's talk about the way I was taught kouchi gari.
As my right foot goes back, I move it a little to the side and turn it inward (toes pointed at uke). I bring my left foot next to it, heels more or less touching, toes pointed out so my feet look like a "V". As uke's right foot comes forward, my left shoots out and catches the heel just as it's about to touch. I push the foot further forward than uke intended, and he falls.
Very little, if anything, was ever mentioned about what the hands are doing. Which is probably fine, when teaching it to new students. The foot work is tricky enough to figure out, just because tori has to do 2 motions in the time it takes uke to do 1.
Now, bare in mind this approach works pretty darn well. I've used it for a long time, and have had great success with it, and many folks have used it on me successfu…

Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 2

Continuing with my thoughts from last time, the first place where this idea of "squaring up" with uke (attacking perpendicular to the line of uke's feet, as well as getting his shoulders and hips lined up with his feet again) came to light in my mind was osoto gari.
As I've said before, there's really nothing new here that I haven't always been taught; I've only just recently realized what was happening. When I was taught the basic osoto entry, I stepped with my left foot slightly over and onto the line of uke's feet (just as uke's right foot was coming forward). For a long time, I thought I was supposed to throw uke "back where he came from", meaning I didn't turn my center at all, and the angle of my attack would have been about 35 degrees to the angle of uke's feet.
Now, there's at least one set up for osoto that I'm pretty fond of doing on occasion (I believe it comes from Lowry Sensei) where I can get away with that, b…

Teachings of O Sensei

“In Aikido we control the opponent’s mind before we face him. That is how we draw him into ourselves. We go forward in life with this attraction of our spirit, and attempt to command a whole view of the world. We ceaselessly pray that fights do not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido. Aikido’s spirit is that of loving attack and that of peaceful reconciliation. In this aim we bing and unite the opponents with the will power of love. By love we are able to purify others.”

Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 1

I mentioned trying to get some video of something I was talking about here the other day, but once again, I've fallen short.
For one thing, I hate to interrupt the flow of class by taking one or two people and doing something different than everybody else. But then, I also just forget altogether, because I get caught up in what's going on in class. And let's face it, the class (and it's students) is the important thing, not making little movies for my own amusement. And since it's an early class, most everyone else has to get to work afterwards. Oh, and I've also been sick the last few weeks....
Excuses, excuses...
Ah, well. Maybe I'll try and explain what I'm thinking in words, but probably not all in one post.
The first thing that occurred to me about all the gari family—osoto gari, kosoto gari, ouchi gari and kouchi gari—was 1) how I want uke to be positioned when I "pull the trigger", and 2) how I want to be positioned relative to that. Like I…

A new piece of the gari family

Today, while thinking about and researching the advancing form of oushi gari, something dawned on me. Of course, it's probably something that isn't new to most folks, but it's new to me.
The interesting thing is, it has to do with all the gari family: osoto gari, ouchi gari, kouchi gari, and kosoto gari. It's an understanding of my body's relationship to uke's, as well as the lines of his feet (and how they, in turn, relate to his hips and shoulders), and also how I get there, that I'd never noticed, and is common in all four.
And in this new light, I can figure out quite easily how to approach any of the four, advancing or retreating, etc. Which is exactly the kind of understanding I'm looking for in just about anything!
At first, I think we all have to look at techniques individually when starting out. We just have to memorize the choreography, all the while ingraining the principles (movement, etc.). Eventually, what started out as "different"…

The elusive sumi otoshi

For years, I never understood sumi otoshi. In some ways, I still don't. It's one of those things that sometimes I get, sometimes I don't. I'll go through periods thinking, Oh, I get it. Here's how you do it. Those periods are usually followed by periods where I'm completely baffled by it.
Recently, I've been watching a whole series of videos taken from a clinic with Henry Kono (You can find the 11 part series here. Just type in "Kono" in the search field on this channel's uploads). I'm in awe of his sumi otoshi timing (among other things, of course). I force it too much, I know, and I hope to someday achieve such exquisite lightness. He actually does it several times during the seminar, but this is just one instance.

The power of the chin

I've been fascinated lately with chins. Mostly uke's. But perhaps saying "the power of the chin" is misleading, because the chin itself doesn't have a whole lot of power (you can use it in little subtle ways in grappling, but that's another story). What I mean is that you and I, as tori, can have a powerful effect on uke (and his posture) simply by what you do with his chin.
Take gyakugamae ate, for instance. For many years, as I was just starting out, most of the folks I trained with treated this technique as an "eye threat", meaning I (as uke) am supposed be startled when I see your hand coming toward my face and I should just jump out of my own boxers and land on my head.
Don't get me wrong, an eye threat is definitely possible there. I've certainly had it done to me enough times for real to know that when it works, it works quite well. The problem for me was, it didn't always work, and not just because of inexperience. Sometimes, you g…

Speaking of iPhone apps

I also downloaded a PDF reader for my app which allows me to download PDFs to my iPhone so I can read them wherever. The nice thing about this is that I've been making notes for years of various things on my computer (being a designer, I use Adobe InDesign). Now I can easily generate PDFs and put them on my iPhone, so I have them in class in case I need to refresh my memory.
For example, in aikido, the dojo as a whole is going to be working on various series of chained techniques (renraku waza) based on the #2 release for a while. Now, there's a lot of these chains, and there's no way I could remember them all off the top of my head, so it will be nice come tomorrow morning to have a handy-dandy reference. I love technology...

Grappling app for my iPhone

Boy, I've been wishing for a decent judo or aikido related app for iPhones from the moment I laid my hands on one, but for the most part I've been sorely disappointed. There's both judo and aikido glossary apps available, which I may download, but I can't find anything related to the demonstration of techniques.
Except for these two apps from (which is a site for BJJ players).

I bought the first one, and so far, it's kind of nice. All the videos are included in the download, so you don't have to stream them from the net somewhere. It covers the basic BJJ techniques, nothing fancy, but that's fine by me. My grappling game is pretty weak, so I could use all the help I can get.
You also get a short PDF book for free, but I haven't investigated that, yet.

It's been a while

As some folks may already know, I've been a bit too preoccupied of late to write in this blog due to both the death of my father and the birth of my second child, each within a couple weeks of each other.I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things again, here and in life in general, soon, but for now, here's a little video or two. This one is Keith Owen talking to a class of BJJ students about the importance of keeping things fun.

Look, ma, no hands!

I haven't written here in a while, mostly because my father recently passed away, and, well, blogging hasn't exactly been at the top of my list of priorities. And I can't say how often I'll post in the near future, because my second kid is about ready to be born, and most of us know how that kind of thing can wreak havoc on a schedule.
For now, though, I thought I'd mention a little bit about some interesting things I found in judo class this morning.
As a normal part of practice in all the classes at Windsong, we start with a foot sweep drill: as tori, I sweep uke's foot with my left foot, I set it down, then immediately sweep with my right foot, set it down and so one, walking this way across the mat; then it's the other man's turn (see the image above; I think there's a video of this drill somewhere, but I can't find it just now).
Now, a student mentioned to me the other day that when they tried to sweep someone's foot, they simply missed. …