Showing posts from May, 2010

Ura waza experiments part 4

Last month, the overall "theme" if you will for all aikido classes was "randori", and I chose to explore the ura waza techniques covered in both the usual forms but also the experimental stuff covered in last year's shochugeiko. This month, the dojo has moved on to koryu dai ni kata, and we're following suit in the morning classes, which means that I didn't get a chance to play with some of the last techniques in junana hon kata.
At least, not in regular class. I've a few occasions no to play around with some things outside of that, and I thought I'd jot them down here to finish out this series of posts and if anything make a record of what we found.
Where did we leave off? Oh, yeah, kote gaeshi. Wee covered ideas regarding tenkai kote gaeshi in early classes and posts, so we'll skip that and move on to shiho nage.
There is, of course, the classical counter of doing shiho nage right back to uke, which works pretty darn well, thank you very much…

Whatever happened to self-discipline?

It's almost a cliché, really. Whenever you ask someone why they want to study a particular martial art, they typically give you the same handful of reasons: self-defense, to get in better shape and self-discipline.

I think we can all understand where the "self defense" part comes in to play. For various reasons, many of us at some point feel a basic, fundamental need to protect ourselves. Maybe we live in a dangerous part of town or work in a potentially violent profession (such as law enforcement, emergency services, or even playing music at a raucous hole in the wall) and the threat of violence is ever-present; or, maybe we've always been picked on by bullies, be it physical or psychological abuse, and we want the confidence to stand up to them.
It's a fairly strong motivating factor, one that's probably worth spending a few posts on in and of itself. But it's not what's on my mind.
As for getting in better shape, there are probably much better ways to…

Ura waza experiments part 3

We covered counters to waki gatame (#10) in some of the earlier techniques, and countering kote hineri seemed pretty much the same as oshi taoshi (although, if I've missed something, by all means, let me know!), so we moved on to kote gaeshi.
There are probably as many ways to counter kote gaeshi as there are ukes, but here are just a few that we've discovered.
Before we get into any of them, however, it's important to understand one fundamental element that relates to pretty much all of these (except maybe one). Actually, the first thing to remember is that, with any of these counters, if tori does everything right, you're pretty much toast, end of story. Remember that we're working under the presumption that tori goofed and maybe sped up or tried to force something to happen.

With that little caveat out of the way, let's talk about the base for all of these counters.

Changing the kote gaeshi angle
I like to illustrate this right up front with a little drill. Stan…

Ura waza experiments part 2

We've been having more fore fun with aikido ura waza. We went over what's covered in the KUBK forums from last years shochugeiko in regard to gyakugamae ate and ushiro ate; gedan ate, we sort of covered when we encountered it with shomen ate, and we looked at oshi taoshi conditions with aigamae ate.
Which brought us to ude gaeshi, #7. Now, in the traditional Tomiki ryu randori no kata no ura waza some of the techniques from the 17 (randori no kata) are omitted, namely, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17. Frankly, I have no idea why (in fact, for various reasons, our dojo has only been looking at this kata for a very short period of time).
But, that doesn't stop us from experimenting!
So on we went with ude gaeshi. With this one, we utilized the same turning of the outside foot as we did in our particular version of the counter to oshi taoshi, but with two variations:
1) A large, extending turning motion. As uke begins to try and coil your arm, you basically do a #1 release movement, …

Some techniques just aren't for everyone

I like sankaku jime, frankly. Many judoka and BJJ players do. It works pretty well, when everything goes right.
The problem I'm finding is that, as I try and work on it with my class, not everyone is having as easy a time of it. Sure, there's a player's level of inexperience that factors into it, but aside from that, I think there's an issue with their build. Judoka come in a wide range: small and large, young and old, flexible and tight, thin and stocky. And for whatever reason, this crew seems to be all the wrong builds for this version of sankaku jime (no offense guys).
Either that, or I'm terrible at teaching it (I hope that's not the case; I seem to be able to convey other things well enough!)
Upon reflection, I think there are two things that might be getting in the way: 1) not shifting their hips over to the side a little and 2) getting too much of uke's shoulder in the way. Although, with some, they just plain lack the physical "bendiness" …

On Aikido Journal again

Looks I got another blog post featured on Aikido Journal. It's nice, but at the same time I'm embarrassed because, for the most part, I feel like most of what I write about is stuff everyone else has already figured out by now, and I'm just catching up! Many deep bows...

Practice judo while killing time, part 2

Here's another little set of drills you can do without a partner when you find yourself out in the real world, waiting around, bored out of your mind.
This time, we're looking at kouchi gari as well as ouchi gari, in both retreating and advancing approaches (you can catch the earlier hiza guruma drill here).

In addition to what I'm doing with my feet, there's also things to think about with your hands, as well, that I didn't go into. For a little further clarification—and you have a ton of time to kill—you might review my little series on how I approach the 4 gari throws:
Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 1
Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 2 Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 3 Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 4 Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 5

Practice judo while killing time

Some time ago, someone on the KUBK forum asked if there was anything you could do to practice aikido or judo by yourself. Of course, there are a few obvious answers, like tegatana no kata ("the Walk" as many call it), or maybe ukemi (if you have a decent surface to roll on at home). But in addition to that, a few of us have developed our own little drills over the years that I've found pretty beneficial to my training.
There are times when I'm just standing around, killing time, like waiting in line, or hanging around the park while my kid hits the playground, and it can be pretty boring. Plus, I'm kind of a fidgety guy; I can't really stand still, but would rather pace or shift back and forth. These moments turned out to be great times to practice my footwork.
Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd film a few. This one is actually a partnered drill Greg Ables showed me once, but sometimes I would just go through the motions by myself when I didn't have…

Renraku waza: hiza guruma to hiza guruma

Hiza guruma to hiza guruma/sasae tsurikomi ashi
One of the slickest follow-ups to a hiza guruma that didn't quite work is a second hiza to the other side. The trick here is to take the foot that you initially put up for propping uke's knee on the first try (let's say your right foot), and put it down pre-turned, inward. If you don't, the angle of the second hiza will be all wrong and plus, you'll miss out on the power that a coiled hip springing into action gives you.
We also found that for smaller players, stepping close to uke at a right angle on the second throw and catching a sasae tsurikomi ashi worked well.
Incidentally, this same action of pre-turning the foot also sets up the nice kosoto gari I mentioned in the last renraku waza post.

2 sweeps for larger opponents

In line with my recent interest in strategies for tall and short players, here's a couple of interesting sweeps from the guard from the perspective of a female player.

The devil and hiza guruma

In both judo and aikido, techniques can often prove elusive.
In some instances, just when we think we have a grasp of how something works, it suddenly stops working. It feels awkward for some reason, like trying to write with your left hand (if your right handed), although everyone else, regardless of rank, can get you with it just fine. It's maddening, frustrating. You're on the verge of going down to the crossroad to make a deal with the devil just to make it work again.
In other instances, you may think you've got a pretty good handle on something, but then a red-and-white belt descends like and angel from on high and shows you a slightly different way of approaching it. Your eyes widen, you slap your forehead and think, Oooooh, yeah, why have I not been doing it like this all along?
Hiza guruma is one such technique for many people I know, not just myself. But it's also a technique that frustrates students more than any other, for some reason. In fact, many students w…

Renraku waza: hiza guruma to foot sweep

This morning, we worked on another handy little combination technique. or "renraku waza" (to see any other renraku waza I blather about, just click on "judo renraku waza" on the lower right of the page under "labels").
Hiza guruma to okuri ashi harai/harai tsurikomi ashi

We started with the individual components, first working on okuri ashi harai, which we typically do from a "step around", turning entry. Next, we practiced hiza guruma for a bit.
Then, we looked at the condition where hiza doesn't quite work out. When uke steps through it, you catch his trailing leg with a foot sweep. Now, when this happens, depending on certain factors, you may catch both of uke's feet for okuri ashi harai, or push his trailing leg behind his support leg for more of a harai tsurikomi ashi (I'll explain in a sec). Frankly, you don't really care, so long as you sweep the guy's foot.

When we do the step around version of the double…

Ura waza experiments

We've been playing with ura waza (counter techniques) in aikido recently. There are, in Tomiki-ryu aikido, at least, ten techniques with one counter each (you can see an explanation of each here on the Kaze Uta Budo Kai forum).
Last summer, during the shochugeiko, however, we all spent much of the time experimenting with additional counters, or rather, counter-to-the-counter-to-the-counter, and so on, which was a really enlightening experience. Fortunately, much of what was developed was recorded and is also available on the forum.
Today, we worked on aigamae ate and mostly what's presented here:

Basically, there's 1) aigamae ate, countered by 2) picking off the hand to oshi taoshi, which is then countered by a sharp turn into 3) tenkan oshi taoshi. After that, we found a few interesting possibilities you might play with.
First off, we had one pair pick the hand off the wrong way. Well, not the "wrong" way, exactly, but maybe a less efficient way. Instead of tori get…

The tall and the short of it, part 4

Continuing my thoughts on approaching aikido and judo as a tall person and as a short person, let's look at the last two sections of junana hon kata:
Tekubi waza (wrist techniques)
11) Kote hineri Tall: Just like oshi taoshi, elbow through the ear, over the top of uke seems to work great.
Short: Just like oshi taoshi, it's harder for shorter people to get the elbow through the ear, so the tenkan, turning version tends to work a little better.
12) Kote gaeshi Tall: For me, I have plenty of success with extending uke over his toes, but I also do well with a more sideways version, which puts uke's wrist over the side of his foot, or even back towards his rear corner, collapsing him.
Short: Kote gaeshi can actually prove fairly problematic for smaller people, mostly because of the grip. It's hard for a tiny hand to put torque on a big bear paw. I find smaller folks have two options here.
One, if they're keeping with the idea of extending uke forward, drawing him out, you can …

Renraku waza: Osoto gari to kosoto gari

For the next little while (who knows, a month or so?) we're going to start incorporating a few renraku waza (combination techniques) into the morning class. I thought I'd keep a little record of some of my favorites and also include anything cool other folks come up with. And of course, if anyone has any ideas that they like and want to share, toss 'em out there!
Osoto gari to kosoto gari

We're going to start all of these combination practices by working on the first throw by itself. In this case, we took good ol' osoto gari, and did a number of uchi komi (basically, to practice the set-up of a throw without throwing) for several minutes. We want people to get plenty of practice getting the throw as close to correct as possible.
Then, we work off the premise that uke, whose weight in mostly loaded into his right foot, takes a step back with his left. This may because he's trying to step out of it, or simply trying to keep his balance and not fall. Regardless, tori…