NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #20

November 1, 2014

In This Issue:

  1. What Do You mean, “There Is No Time To Train?”
  2. I Am Uke.
  3. Aikido Topic of the Week:  My New Least Favorite Technique to be Uke
  4. Growing Our Subscriber Base ~ Please Forward to your Friends
  5. Announcements:  Nihon Goshin Aikido Super Seminar in Lexington, SC on November 1st

Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!

It’s really busy here and my work schedule has allowed for little training opportunities, but that does not mean I was idle.

When you think there is no time to train, I’ll wager you are mistaken.  There is a ton of mental preparation that you can work on when you can’t be at the dojo.

Here is a list of things I do:

1.  Running through the list of Classical Techniques mentally (eg:  3rd Set:  Third Set Wrist, Handshake, Over the Back Throw, Slap to the Side of the Head, Pull Head Down from Underneath the Arm, Arm Over Shoulder.....etc.).  Name all 50 in Belt Order, and the component parts of each technique that make them successful.

2.  Name As Many Applications for Each Technique as Possible.  

3.  Think About What Makes Another Student’s Aikido Effective.  Do a survey of the students in your dojo, and analyze their strengths.  My buddy Tim is always amazing me in his ability to incorporate a wide variety of  techniques in an attack line.  It seems like he runs through a mental list as the attacks come through, and he rarely performs the same technique twice.  

There is another guy in the dojo Troy ~ who has an insanely effective First Wrist Technique.  

Another student, Lisa ~ simply refuses to quit.  Performing the Pivot Over the Back throw may kill her one day, but she’ll happily die trying to do technique properly ~ and one day she will do it.

When you think on student strengths like those listed above, you hopefully began to devise ways to incorporate those strengths into your own interpretation of the art ~ and that may make you better when you can get back to the dojo.

4.  Watch youtube videos on Aikido ~ especially our art, but keep in mind there is a lot you can take away from videos of  Hombu Aikido, Karate, Daito Ryu AJJ, and Judo ~ as our art incorporates techniques form all of them.

I Am Uke:  Since the last newsletter, I was able to train a few times.  On one occasion, I served as uke for an independent student who is taking private lessons with Sensei Carter, and on another occasion I was able to work on applications with a student who is preparing for their purple belt.  

As to the tackling dummy aspect of these training opportunities, I don’t mind being uke.  In my mind, “feeling” good technique is as good ~ if not better ~ than “performing” good technique.  

I think it was Sensei Durand who relayed a story to me about a guy who had gone to Japan to begin his study of aikido.  At his first training session, the sensei who would become his primary instructor asked, “How long will you be studying aikido in Japan?” To which the man replied, “3 years.”  

The instructors response:  “You will take ukemi for the first 2 years.”  The prescribed training pedagogy was not a punishment, just a recognition that some things are best learned by experiencing them.  

That’s a winded explanation as to why I enjoy being uke. In some ways it is the best part of the job ~ and you’re much more likely to save yourself from bodily injury with good ukemi skills (eg:  break falling down a flight of stairs), than you are to be attacked.

Slap to the Side of the Head Applications Give Me Concussion Symptoms.  Can I get an Amen?

I like ukemi, but if there is one technique I loath taking ukemi for (in addition to the Come Along Throw which stresses an already injured shoulder) it is the Slap to the Side of the Head.  I was working with a Green Belt, and the technique was employed over and over again:  mostly incorrectly in my mind.  It seems to me that for many students, applications of the Slap to the Side of the Head are reliant mostly on the power of the slap to the side of the head, rather than Nage’s ability to first unbalance uke and then deliver the toppling force.  Something invariably gets lost in translation as you move from the Classical Technique of the Slap to the Side of the Head and its associated applications.  Perhaps, some of this is a simple function of the name itself which implies a literal strike, but in my mind the focus always needs to be on nage’s first response ~ which is to take uke’s balance by executing a full blend.  After the full blend, with uke completely off balance, and stumbling forward, what is often a strike might be a better stated simply “Pushing the Head to the Shoulder” ~ for dynamic results.  Consider the video to the left for a solid picture of a correct application.

What say ye?  

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There is a Nihon Goshin Aikido Super Seminar in Lexington SC on November 1st.  Instructors are Mr. Joe Beckham, Mr. John Wyndham, and Mr. John Carter.  Workshop time is 11:00am - 5:00pm.  This is the first seminar in the new dojo, so please try to attend if at all possible.  More information is here.  Unfortunately, I will be out of town that weekend, but that’s probably all the more reason to come!

Other fronts:  Do You Have News On Seminars, Dojo Expansions, Relocations, Grand Openings, Promotions, and/or Other Information You Want To Share?  Send us the information on it and we’ll post it here for you.  

Nihon Goshin Aikido Store Merchandise:  Enough said.  Click here to get your NGA bling.

Let's meet on the mat together soon!


Jonathan Wilson

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Look at This Slap To the Side of the Head Application

Here’s a great model....  Uke attacks with full commitment, Nage continues uke’s motion, thereby unbalancing him, and then applies the contact to the head late ~ notice how the fall is not a lateral side fall (which is what happens when nage’s blend is insufficient). Notice how uke’s motion has a forward motion to it.  This is an ideal execution of Slap to the Side of the Head application.

Nage is John Carter.  Uke is Jason Sullivan

Tim McNeal ~ uke and one of my best buddies ~ “feeling some good technique” on hip throw night in the Old Lexington SC dojo.  Nage is an up and coming student of the game ~  Will Robinson

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.

Fall 2013 Super Seminar at the old Lexington, SC Dojo

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