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On wednesday night I trained at my mates father's dojo, which I do from time to time, after all they need regular visits from me, being as I am 8th Dan shihan in Karate...........
That's what my friends dad tells his students anyway. Once a student asked who I'd trained under in Japan and I just said "Serious people." No-ones yet clocked on why I can't do a single kata correctly yet though.
I actually find Karate classes to be a doddle. There's no getting slammed into the floor or put in a submission or being made to drag my tired body off the mat when I'd rather just lay there and make sure there are no bumps in it. Somehow getting kicked and punched just doesn't bother me anymore. I think once you're used to having a bokken getting bounced off your skull getting hit in the head just isn't a worry.
Even the cardiovascular stuff isn't that taxing compared to my normal Aikido practice.
Sparing was fun, I can't believe anyone thinks of it as training for real fighting, but it is fun. Caught the instructor good and propper once. I used a hooking kick to sweep his lead leg, which brought him forward onto my punch. I managed to keep all the dan grades on the back foot, I wish there'd been a mat. I'd have had so much fun.
I find that when I spar with my mates from striking arts they're ok provided you trade strikes with them, as soon as I cover up and enter in though I find that something like irimi nage or tenchi nage becomes inevitable. I find that I end up.........I call it climbing all over them, I climb all over their guard, all over them in fact.
I reccomend that any Aikidoka spar with a striker and just see how close they can get and see what they can get a hand on. I have this little exercise, let's call it Ketsan's exercise.
Try hugging the dude, try tapping his elbows when his guard is up, then shoulders, then wrists, then try tapping with both hands at the same time. Tap with your palms though, not your fingers. And try making atemi at their face through their elbow, good things come from it. Remember your taisabaki, keep off their centre line while keeping them in yours and just play patti cake with them, keeping your guard up.
Then when you can get a palm on them, grab. Just little grabs and when you can grab places at will with one hand, do it with two. Then add entering movements and mix in some tegatanas. So you're entering and grabbing. When you can do that, enter, grab and push or turn.
The final phase is to execute this with intent. As soon as you've touched gloves or bowed or done whatever, you charge in.
To be honest Ketsan's exercise doesn't really teach anything that Aikidoka don't already know, it's just a vehicle for teaching an Aikidoka what they've learned.