On and Off (and On Again)

A couple of weekends ago, Patrick Parker Sensei form Mokuren Dojo in Mississippi held a clinic at our dojo focusing on Koryu Dai Ichi Kata. For various reason I won't even attempt to go into here, our school (and our former organization) largely ignored the first and second koryu katas, so this was all fairly new to me.

One of the prominent themes in that kata, it seems, is the idea of encountering (or even creating) pressure or resistance, then releasing the pressure (disappearing basically) and then turning the pressure on again. Which may not be the best way to describe it, really.

Pat described it as your arm(s) going from being like a stick, to being like a rope, to being like a stick again, which is a good way to think of it. I've also heard it referred to as "on, off and on again." Now, while that basic concept is not entire new to me, my eyes are slowly opening to all the places in can and does occur, both in aikido and judo.

So while I've been going over the kata in our morning classes, I also want to carry the concept over into our judo classes.

One thing, though, that I asked my aikido folks to think about is that, when doing Tegatana no Kata (or "The Walking Kata"), to think more about the "rope" concept. In other words, after all of the places where we engage our arms and either step forward, to the side, or turn around, simply allow your arms to just drop to your sides. Exaggerate it, even, for a while. Pretend someone just flipped a switch and your arms suddenly turned into limp noodles and just let them plop down to your sides. Then when you engage them again for the next part, let it feel like someone flipped the switch back on again.

After doing that for a while, then go through the whole of Randori no Kata (or "The Seventeen") and look for places where you could allow your arm to just turn suddenly into rope and then turn back into a stick again; on, off, then on again.

I think you'll find it does some spectacularly crazy things to your uke.


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