Showing posts from April, 2012


Very nice series of demonstrations on centering from Doug Wedell Sensei—understanding where you're center is and where the center of the "system" is:

The magic of switching your hips

Here's an interesting little variation you might try in your aikido practice, just for funzies. Take junana hon kata / randori no kata as well as the eight release movements and try doing them by starting at least with only a "hip switch."

Not the full, 180° turn we do in the Walking Kata, but more of a 30 to 45° shift to one side or the other on the balls of your feet.

Be sure to do it right at the point of contact. The hands would do mostly the same thing, and after the first switch or two you can either move normally, or I dunno, see what happens!

Renraku waza - technique combinations

One of the most profound additions to my aikido practice, in my humble opinion, has been the development in our system of what we commonly refer to as "chained series" or renraku waza. The concept isn't new, of course, but I don't know that many people practice it in aikido (help me out if I'm mistaken, I'd love to take a look at what others are doing).

Basically, you would start off with uke either attacking or grabbing a wrist. Tori performs technique A, uke falls down (or submits). Then you do it again, but this time uke attempts to escape or counter technique A, so tori moves on to B, so on and so forth.

Many of these chained series can get rather long, upwards of 9 or 10 even. When it comes right down to it, there are probably an infinite number of ways you can combine them, but the main idea is to practice flowing from one thing to another, to follow uke, to keep from getting attached to making a single technique work, by golly, blah, blah, blah.


Slow if fast, fast is slow

I've heard the expression "slow is fast, fast is slow" for many years as I've trained. Frankly, I always thought I understood what it meant. And I did—do—but I guess my understanding of it has broadened.

Sorry, but I don't have time to go into all of it right now (I know you were just dying to know), but I thought I would share an interesting visual example of this particular maxim, one you can try for yourself and even demonstrate to a class.

All you need is a piece of scrap paper and a pen or pencil. Your task is to draw as straight a line as you can over and over, 10 times. First, do it as fast as you can. Then do it again, but go as slow as you can. Below is the result of my attempt:

Quite a difference, huh? The first bunch of lines is fairly scattered and broad, while the second batch is not only pretty consistent with smaller variability, it's also darker, or more intense. Bare in mind, that I'm a graphic designer and illustrator by trade; I've …