Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #69
Inside This Edition:
Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionados!
The second correspondence in just a few weeks ~ and a very important follow up to the last edition of Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido. Please take the time to consider this newsletter in its entirety.
Spring is here. I love March. In my mind, March is the official first month of summer. If you live in the South, you love the south, and there are many reasons to do so. There is great joy in 6-7 month long summers, 6 week winters, evening porch swings, and tall glasses of sweet iced tea. Of course, the best thing about the south is you get to say, "Ya'll" which is a contraction for "Hey YOU Guys!" (actually, "you all" ~ but it sounds cooler when you say it as one word). Interestingly enough, sometimes phrases with "ya'll" in them can mean the exact opposite of what the person appears to be saying. An example would be "Ya'll come see us." Any true Southerner knows "Y'all come see us" is literally translated to "Get Off My Lawn!" ~ just a more polite version.
The South... what's not to love.
Aikido ~ Announcing NGAexperience.com's "The Official Uke Follow Me Guide: How to Be a 'Good' Bad Guy."
Introduction: Watch almost any generic aikido video you see on youtube, and it will generlaly be saturated with what I define as generally "unnatural" uke behavior. Now let me be clear, I am not being critical of the act of Aikido ukemi ~ the falls and rolls ~ or the act of receiving the technique. The falls are great ~ if not spectacular. When I reference unnatural uke behavior, I am referencing the simple fact that the attacking intention of uke is typically negligent in many respects ~ if not possibly even non-martial in many training scenarios and demos.
In the upcoming editions of Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido, we are going to discuss the aspects that all ukes must manifest. The aim of every Uke is to be a "good" bad guy ~ we hope to highlight actions that promote that behavior.
"Good" Bad Guys don't have to strike with lethal intentions, but every strike should have these qualities:
1) The strike should be on target,
2) The strike should be delivered with a closed fist, as opposed to an open handed,
3) The strike should be delivered with uke's conviction to stay in the fight (not tossed out there and immediately followed by a self inflicted flop onto the mat),
4) The striker should always seek a combination punch (in other words uke's non striking hand should be kept martial throughout nage's technique),
5) The uke should look for a way to counter nage's technique,
6) Uke doesn't need to say anything between attacks ~ just train,
Quality #1: Being The 'Good' Bad Guy: Strikes Should Be On Target:
If your strike is not on target, what is the point? You have no need to defend yourself against a fist flying in a direction that will not harm you.
Consider these two antecodotes.
Anecodote #1: A while back, I was partnered with a guy in training who was literally punching the air 6 inches to the right of my chin. Every time he'd attack like this, I would reset his attack and point to my nose (Attack me here). After a few more of his whifs I pointed to my nose again and said, "Hey try to punch me in the nose, not the space over my right shoulder." He attacked again, this one was actually in the right direction, but it stopped short about 6 inches from my nose. I reset him again and with the next attack, seeing no change in the striking depth, I just stood there when he attacked ~ doing absolutely nothing to defend myself, or bothering to reset him. Of course the attack failed to land, and he then asked me, "Why aren't you doing a technique?" I replied, "Because you are not attacking me."
"What do you mean I'm not attacking you, "I've thrown 5 punches."
"No you haven't thrown a single punch AT ME. You were swinging at the air over my right shoulder for a while, and now you're swinging at the air in front of my face. I don't need to defend myself by performing a technique until you actually try to attack me."
For some reason, he took offense to all my frustrations. His next words were: "I know karate, if I wanted to punch you, I'd do it." Then he walked off the mat and quit training for the day. Errrr Thanks 'Bad' Bad Guy ~ what a waste of training time.
Anecdote #2: In another training venue, I had a similar experience were a dan graded
karate student was pulling up on his punches just a few inches from the target. These
punches were not whifs either. They were great studies in form and tempo, but they
just did not have quite enough range to actually hit me. So I did the same thing,
I had done with the first guy in the earlier story. I pointed to my nose and said,
"You need to actually try and hit me for any of this to work." He smiled, reset
and attempted to punch me in the face (like I wanted him to). In an instant he was
literally skidding face first onto the mat with my slight parry and blend. A bit
surprised, he quickly sprang back to his feet. I obliged his intention to stand,
and helped him regain his footing. Then I extended his vertical momentum over and
back. Had I continued the movement, he would have done a marvelous break fall, but
I knew he couldn't breakfall, so I pulled up short of performing the best Spin Around
application of my life. Every part of the movement was effortless ~ exactly the
way it is supposed to be. All my wide eyed former karate and newly converted aikido
training partner could say was "That was the most amazing thing I've ever felt in
aikido. Can you teach me to do that?"
Sure ~ it's easy when you have a good bad guy attacking you.
So to sum up Uke Striking: When you are uke aim at the target and slightly through the target. If you are trying to hit nage in the chin, aim at his chin and to an imaginary point 1-2 inches past his chin. In other words, the strike should land and penetrate if nage does not react. You don't have to try and knock your training partner out, but you should be trying to land a punch. Also keep in mind that there is a direct correlation between your speed of attack and nage's reversal. If you want to get thrown hard, attack with speed. If you want to slow things down, or you are not sure about your falls and rolls, attack in the same way, but just with a slower hand speed. Communicate your comfort level in taking falls and rolls with your training partner.
In next month's newsletter, I'll discuss the virtues of always attacking with a closed fist in the "Uke Follow Me Guide."
If you read the whole newsletter last month, you'll remember that at the end of it, I announced that I was in the final stages of opening my own Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo. Along with that news, I also shared that I had decided to align my new dojo with the Nihon Goshin Aikido Association.
I regret that I did not state the part about aligning my new dojo with the Association more clearly. Since most of you in the greater Nihon Goshin Aikido universe are already members of the Association, my statement may have seemed odd, if not obvious, but here's the truth of the matter ~ which I am sure many of you may not know: the Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo I trained at and received my dan ranking from was not a Nihon Goshin Aikido Association member dojo, having separated from the Association a year or two before I became a student.
The reasons my old Sensei decided to separate his dojo from the Association are his own business, and I trained with my Sensei's assurance that he was teaching the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido the same way it was taught to him and the same way he had taught it while his dojo was a member of the Association.
There is a formal procedure in place for a Nihon Goshin Aikido black belt who was given rank from an independent Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo to join the official Nihon Goshin Aikido Association. The procedure involves more than a phone call. In fact, as I type this, I'm mindful of all I need to do on my part to become a member in good standing. It actually takes a year. Still, I am 100% confident that it is the right choice.
This brings me to my final point on the matter. My encouragement to those of you who, like I me, hold dan ranking in Nihon Goshin Aikido but not from a Nihon Goshin Aikido dojo operating inside the Nihon Goshin Aikido Association's framework: try to envision the benefits of being linked to the main body. Consider aligning with the Association ~ the main body ~ representing our art to the world. There is strength and power in a uniform front that can not be denied. Like Mr. Bowe before him, Mr. MacEwen is not a hard man to find, and I have found him gracious, humble, steadfast, and welcoming.
I wish you the best in your training this month.
Mystery Articles of Interest
Let's meet together on the mat ~ and soon!
All the best,
Aikido of Charlotte Aikido: Suspended Floor Cross Section
Take a Close Look!
Bottom Layer: 1.5 inch closed cell foam blocks.
Middle Layer: 0.75 inch sub-flooring
Top Layer: 1.5 inch Zebra mat
This Should Be the Standard for all Aikido Flooring Systems.
Make it Happen!
Want a Solid Arm Bar?
1. Ki Finger of Gripped hand Extended
2. Shuto Driving Fulcrum Just Above Elbow
3. Power from Tenkan Hip Pivot Driving Uke Off His Base and to the Ground
This guy’s aikido makes me smile. This is what my Aikido looks like.
Unless otherwise stated, the author’s views, musings, and opinions do not necessarily reflect the attitude of leadership within any of the various Nihon Goshin Aikido associations, or unaffiliated Nihon Goshin Aikido dojos.
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Aikdio’s Hidden Ground Techniques Video Trailer