Showing posts from November, 2010

Another hiza guruma tip

Funny how I never stop finding things to talk about when it comes to hiza guruma. Today's piece of advice? Take notes, kids. Here it comes.

Your job is NOT to STOP uke's leg or knee with your foot.

But that's exactly what everyone tries to do, and that's where we get two guys kicking each other and beat-up shins and all kinds of frustration. Think about it: if his leg is coming forward and I'm trying to STOP it, that's force against force! And that, my friends, definitely ain't judo, is it?

Look at this picture:

Where is tori's his foot? In FRONT of uke's knee? Nope, it's curved and cupping the FAR SIDE of uke's knee.

After years of having people throw me by trying to stop or impede my forward step in uchi komi or a very acquiescent session of nage komi, I noticed my fall was a typical tobi ukemi—which is more of an otoshi type of fall. Where was the guruma, the turning?

Try this: instead of stopping uke's knee, reach out with your sneaky…

The "speed and power" monster

There's nothing like an occasional class of randori to bring certain issues to light that would be good to work on.

We did a little light randori in judo this morning, mostly just trading throws, rotating partners with every bell (which I believe lasts about 3 minutes). When we were done, I asked everybody what their thoughts were, what went well, what didn't go so well, etc.

A handful of issues came up, which is natural, and it should prove amble fodder for future classes. One thing that I thought might be worth mentioning here was the problem of controlling escalating frustrations. We've all been there, where something isn't working, the guy's not going down, so we get stronger, faster and more desperate.

So how can you deal with that in your practice? The temptation is usually to stop, to quit, to just go sit down until you cool off. Like you're punishing yourself. "How could I loose control like that? I know better than that!" are the kinds of th…

Isolating a thing

Sometimes I like to take one singular aspect of a technique and think of a way to isolate it as a way of helping others (and myself) learn a concept, or at least broaden their view of it.

This morning, while going over ushiro ate, I felt something very interesting. So here's what I had everyone do.

Have a person just stand there, feet even, in balance, in good posture. Have a second person stand right behind them (you might refer to him as the tori in this situation, I suppose). Have tori simply place his hands on uke's shoulders. Not hard, but not necessarily light either. Just the weight of gravity.

Chances are, uke won't notice much.

Then have tori remove their hands, and put them back down on uke, but this time, with the palms further forward, so the heel of his palms sits just below uke's clavicle bone (palms and finger covering more chest surface area). Again, not hard, not pulling, just the weight of gravity.

It was interesting to feel, as uke, how your weight i…

The impact of waves

While working on various sections of the koryu no kata, and I couldn't help but notice that there are on occasion certain techniques that involve entering right as uke has started to commit his energy forward. The effect feels somewhat jarring, and comes as close as I've ever felt aikido come to any kind of force-against-force situation.

And since aikido largely eschews the force-against-force approach, these occasions puzzled me somewhat. I had always thought of the movements of aikido in terms of poetic devices like water, flowing around, over, behind, never struggling or fighting but blending with its environment.

But then I thought of a wave as it smacks against a rock. If you've ever had the opportunity to stand before a sizable wave as it comes crashing into you, you'd know that it hits with considerable force! But the interesting thing to me is, immediately afterward, it dissolves, it flows around, over and behind again, slipping past as smooth as ever.

Those te…