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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 817,066

In Weapons Students of White Oak and Hickory Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #241 New 01-29-2009 11:32 AM
I never thought I'd be saying this, but...I really miss weapons practice. In the old dojo, we had the opportunity to do this twice a week (one day for bokken, one day for jo). I suppose it's one of those instances where "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone". Though I'd always enjoyed the feel of both sword and staff movements, there was a great part of me that I eventually found grudgingly practicing the sword --- the staff was so much more versatile, after all and the movements could readily be adapted towards a real-world improvised weapon. And you know I'm all about the real-world scenarios.

Yet over the past year or so that we've been at the new venue, we've practiced with weapons less and less. Initially we only had access to the upstairs gym (with high ceilings) once a week so we alternated back and forth between bokken and jo practice. Now that we no longer have access to the upstairs and are exclusively downstairs where the ceiling is fairly low, we haven't been doing weapons work at all for the past few months.

As a result, I'm seeing a difference in the group of newbies that has come through the dojo lately. I'm now convinced that within the group of new students who have done little to no weapons practice, we're "raising a generation" of Aikidoka who:

- don't know how to kiai (and thus find it more difficult to generate power through their kokyu/breath --- you're forced to do this all the time in weapons striking and I'm certain that it is meant to get you into the habit of generating power and a stronger root via breath)

- don't know how to extend against strong resistance (vital when working with weapons and has its immediate applications in empty hand entry-movements as well as in ukemi --- many of the new folks, even after a fair amount of time now, far too easily collapse their arms when rolling)

- are less proficient at judging ma-ai/distance in their sabaki/body placement (this is something you almost immediately learn when working with weapons as all of your exchanges are in a sense, interactions between two "measuring sticks" with which to gauge proper distance)

Naturally, all of this has me concerned and I've discussed these observations with Sensei - unfortunately there is little we can do about the situation until we get into a permanent space where we have high enough ceilings to do weapons work again. And of course, getting into a new space is greatly dependent upon the number of students we have practicing consistently --- though the dojo has grown somewhat recently, only time will tell if the new people will stick to it. In the meantime, it's "More Tae Sabaki! More Tae Sabaki!" and a healthy dose of atemi/empty-hand striking practice for us all and I think that for the time being, this should help with some of these issues.
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