View Full Version : Senses ...

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11-08-2002, 11:37 AM
A very interesting thing happened last night while training. I discovered that when all the lights go off in the dojo, it is pitch black. Can't even see your own hand in front of your face.

A pretty heavy storm knocked out the power last night and fortunately enough, my partner and I had just completed one of serval kotegaeshi techniques we were playing with. He got up and was about to strike again when *POOF*, the lights went out. My first reaction was to squat down, thus protecting my head/face from being clobbered. My student started pounding the mat and making noise as if we were still going. Pretty funny really. You had to be there.

I now wonder what would have happened had we been right in the middle or toward the end of the technique. At such a moment, the sense of sight is no longer available and is one that we so rely on. In this case, both my partner and I would have only had the sense of touch and sound to guide us.

I wonder if anyone has ever done any kind of training blind folded or with their eyes closed. I know we do some drills and foot work this way from time to time but never tried taking ukemi, let alone perform a technique such as we were working without sight.

Anyone else ever experience or trained in such an environment?

Cheers ...

11-08-2002, 11:58 AM
never done it in aikido but when i was training tai chi we would often close our eyes during push hands exercises to get a better feeling of where the ki was going. the eyes fool you to some extent.

also when doing the solo form i sometimes turn off the lights or close my eyes to improve my stances. its really really difficult with your eyes closed and you need to find the exact balance and posture to keep from falling over.

11-08-2002, 08:27 PM
Hello Steven

Yes. One of my teachers sometimes blindfolds the Yudansha grades and asked a "sighted Uke" to do an attack, a grab or atemi.

The blindfolded Nage takes his/her posture and takes guard with their hands. The attacks are done at a medium pace and pulled if Nage is not going to get out of the way or delfect the attack if it's an atemi.

Your other senses such as hearing, touch and general zanshin do compensate.

The purpose of these exercises is for Nage to feel the technique or movement and not to overthink or analyse the technique or movement.

Btw Sigurd, Trust In Allah but not in shonky Iranian Socerers selling Invisibility Scrolls to would be Iranian bank robber. Yes it actually happened :D

All the best for training :)

11-09-2002, 01:06 AM
we've done that from time to time when we have smaller classes. not a lot of striking, but techniques from grabbing attacks.

i found the hardest part was finishing a technique like shihonage or kotegaeshi on balance in a nice clear stance was the hardest part.

i thought tenkan would be difficult because of the spinning but for some reason it didnt feel much different...go figure

Fiona D
11-10-2002, 03:07 AM
This is something I've done a few times in my Jiu Jitsu classes (I'm too new to Aikido to have got that far...). Nage stands in the middle of a circle of ukes who attack with wrist or body grabs. Often we do it to a sort of halfway point - nage closes their eyes until uke touches them, then is allowed to do the rest of the technique sighted. From time to time I've done it completely sightless (blindfolded) - it's actually rather fun to try to do the techniques completely by touch and balance. One thing we do have to be careful of in that situation is that all the ukes have a decent amount of confidence in their ukemi. Usually in the Jiu Jitsu versions of randori, nage is supposed to tailor their response to uke's standard of ukemi, but of course you can't do that if you can't see who's attacking you. This kind of training is very beneficial - first because you've got to be able to feel how uke's balance is going, and second because it's virtually impossible to anticipate the attack (apart from hearing the person come up to you), so it's more like the scenario of being attacked from behind in a dark alley and taken by surprise.

11-10-2002, 08:44 AM
Btw Sigurd, Trust In Allah but not in shonky Iranian Socerers selling Invisibility Scrolls to would be Iranian bank robber. Yes it actually happened :D
that's where the "tie up your camel first" comes in. sorcerers have fooled the foolish in all faiths at all times. but perhaps we should take this to the philosophy section.

Ma'a el salaama!

Abdullah Mutassawif.

11-10-2002, 09:19 AM
We do eyes closed rondori (nage has eyes closed but ukes keep eyes open (of course) ) with some frequency in our dojo. I think that it teaches you what it means to 'be aware' of uke in a way that is hard to do in any other way.

11-10-2002, 01:44 PM
I turn off the lights in the middle of training without warning on a semi regular basis. It's great for teaching people awareness, how you won't be able to see the swinging fist in the dark alley and to concentrate on centre lines etc.

Bruce Baker
11-10-2002, 08:12 PM
The hardest part of practicing in the dark is not to let techniques get out of hand, or throw your partner into someone else, or whatever objects that might cause them injury.

Sometimes training goes right out the window and a grappling contest ensues, but shorly thereafter laughter ensues as the class trips over each other.

Yes, training is limited light, or darkness is a good thing as it teaches you to control your fear and your technique for practice.

No, it is not a good idea to have practice without some type of night vision goggles, as you do need one person who can stop practice and turn on the lights. I have seen some really weird landings from practicing in the dark, and some of them not so funny.

Try practice in almost dark, very low light, so the teacher can stop practice if need be. It will amount to the same effect as getting a blindfold, but in the dark does feel different than a blindfold.

Play nice. Good training.

11-10-2002, 08:55 PM
...sorcerers have fooled the foolish in all faiths at all times. ...
Unfortunately, there are many ready examples of this and against people who can least afford the loss.

All the best for training

11-11-2002, 12:27 AM
this reminds me of a funny incident with my sensei. He was Japanese and his English wasn't that good but we understood that he wanted to practice with the nage's eyes closed. But his uke didn't seem to get that straight and and as my sensei closed his eyes, so did the uke and the class struggled to keep from bursting out laughing at the sight of the uke feeling around to find nage and my sensei standing there waiting for the attack. Sensing that something was wrong with the experiment, my sensei opened his eyes and told uke "you open eyes! only me close eyes!" He had a really stern look on his face (which was pretty much how he always appeared) but after demonstrating what he wanted us to do I noticed him shake his head and smile.

11-11-2002, 02:45 AM
One of our teachers was in Tibet on holiday and visited a school for blind children there. He heard that a lady from Switserland teaches the children Aikido. This gave him an idea and last saturday he started a workshop on how to perform Aikido when you are blind. His first lesson was what senses you can use when you are blind and what is more difficult when you are blind (balance! and walking straight). It was fun and very intresting.

11-11-2002, 08:52 AM
Yeah, we do closed-eye randor too. Usually keep the pace relatively slow. Focusing more on blend and lead. From time to time I'll also go through our aiki-taiso with my eyes closed.