December 24, 2012 Leave a comment
Of course, I’m referring to my set of notes on Aiki Jo. As it is, it just needs to be illustrated, either with photographs or drawings. I have received a lot of technical feedback and help from Alejandro Villanueva and Jason Wotherspoon. Surely, there is a lot that would not have happened in this set of notes were it not for the generous back and forth emails of these two splendid martial artists.
In the course of compiling these notes, I have had a number of questions raised, and even a few answered. I tried my best to share the answers in my manual, while not stirring up any new mysteries based on any misunderstanding of my own. Fortunately, I was able to draw on another resource that helped out immensely: Guro Dan Inosanto’s notes on Kali and JKD.
Don’t get excited. I’m not sitting here next to him going through his notes. A simple search on Scribd for “Inosanto Kali” will yield the sort of results I’m talking about. The way that Kali is organized, while not fitting along exactly side by side with Aikido, should certainly inspire some organization to our practice. Surely, Kanai Sensei and Saito Sensei, two men known for their exacting and technical nuance, would have appreciated the way that Guro Inosanto keeps his own practice methods severely organized for future students to look after.
It’s rather early. I don’t know anyone else that is awake right now. I’m about to enjoy a nice 6 a.m. hookah, clean my room, and then go train. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I thought so. The party is tonight. If you don’t know, and you want to go, let me know – I’ll make sure you have the information. Tomorrow’s my birthday!!! I don’t have anything plan-wise set in stone. Any stone cutters out there?
I’ve been busy.
The dojo has been a most rewarding activity in my life yet. It has forced me to take my training and my role as a instructor seriously. In the past year, I have learned a lot about the mindset of a martial artist as a instructor. There are a lot a considerations, some very old from ancient dojos, and some modern considerations as well.
I have learned that it is very important to train seriously. Every training session should be carried out with a stern mind and a serious heart. I am responsible and accountable for every facet of my school. Lineage for example, is a great concern. It is important to represent well anyone that you claim as lineage. Simply posting a picture on a site or throwing someone’s name out is never as good as being who you say you are. If you have the goods, most people won’t look further.
June 8, 2011 3 Comments
In Aikido, we practice our techniques against every imaginable grab possible. To someone watching Aikido, but unfamiliar with our training methods, some of these practices seem very silly or impractical. I would like to discuss some of what is going on with Aikido practice with grabs.
First of all, let’s look at the purpose of the grab. At a basic level, a grab is performed from a static position. Uke freely allowed to grab nage with full power in order to restrain his movement. This means that nage must learn to use the principles of Aikido to learn how to move freely against such an attack. Nage has to learn the difference from moving freely against various holds, as they all have a particular nuance that makes the attack most effective. So at this stage, the grab is not a technique, but a training tool that fosters strong, correct movement.
The part where the grab is trained as a technique to be defended against has several considerations. First, that you may be grabbed by a Judo, Jujutsu, or similar exponent. The threat of defeat when grabbed by an expert of such arts is very real. Also, since it is generally easier to strike at a person than to hold them and restrain them, the reason why they are grabbing you adds a different dimension to the attack. For example, imagine that you are a law enforcement officer or a soldier, and you have a gun pointed at someone who then grabs your arms or hands to control you and your weapon. Surely, you had best know how to not only defend against the hold, but do so in a way that allows you to retain and use your weapon. Having your weapon taken from you by an enemy surely means that it will be used against you. Also, a person may grab you so that others may more easily converge on you. So you must also be able to release yourself from holds in a way that allow you to overcome multiple attackers.
Next, we consider grabs combined with strikes. It is a very natural and obvious consideration that if a person grabs with one hand, they will hit you with the other hand. If they grab you with both hands, they may kick, knee, or headbutt you. If you are grabbed from behind you may be put in a choke. So you must train so that your release from the hold doesn’t allow for a second or third attack or technique being used against you.
Tactically, that you are grabbed in the first place is bad. If a person can grab you first, then they can just as well strike you first. So in addition to all of the above, you must learn to practice your techniques so that you cannot be struck at all. This is difficult to explain in words. Nishio Sensei makes a clear and remarkable demonstration of this in his video presentations of techniques against holds. By treating the hold as if it is a strike, you prevent further attack from uke and begin to control the encounter from the moment of contact.
I hope this clears up some confusion about holds for people that do not practice Aikido, and gives some ideas on how to improve your practice for those of you that do.
June 8, 2011 Leave a comment
I have been receiving lots of requests for the Jo Manual. It is no longer being offered for free. I would like to explain why. When I first made earlier drafts of it freely available, it was on a simple condition that I receive something back in the way of feedback, good or bad. After sending it as an email attachment to over 200 people, and watching the stats from the uploaded version that showed it had been downloaded over 300 times, I have received feedback from about 10 people. Insightful as the feedback was, it gave me the impression that the manual was not feedback or comment worthy. Currently I use it as a reference tools for my students. I have given a few printed copies to some peers locally for their own use. If anyone is really that interested in a copy, I will send you a PDF of the manual for $15 usd. Simply email me at autrelleatgmaildotcom for the paypal information. All money goes toward further updates and an eventual fully illustrated print or ebook version.
That may or may not sound like bad news, depending on your situation. What I do offer for free right are some videos that are on my dojo’s site. Here you will find ken and jo videos.