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Old 01-24-2007, 02:26 PM   #227
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Baseline skillset

Eddie deGuzman wrote:
I think I favor how Mike has been explaining things, but at the same time I don't think Eric should be faulted for believing otherwise. A lot of what Eric said made sense to me. But perhaps Eric could explain what he would think a good skillset would consist of and how to teach it using his concepts and jargon and allow Mike his beliefs.

Would like to learn more in this thread so if you all have more to say, please do.
If you have practiced furitama, or a related exercise tekubi furi (hand shaking) the shaking of the arms and body with it, you will feel the the cyclical rotations of your arms connecting and communicating all the way to your belly. Especially if you do it with the weight slightly forward on the toes (a la Shioda). That is the "liveness" of connection you want to feel in every movement you do -- whether you call it "waza" or exercise or anything else. But that "feel" is just a guide -- it does not get you to applied movement, or anything remotely approaching a "skill" worthy of the name. In Tekubi furi you will notice that the segments of your arms are doing little reciprocal rotations back and forth as you shake your hands over your head, and they feel sort of "taut" in a way that is different from "muscle."

The type of things that Mike talks about are, from my perspective, a mixture of his (somewhat different) approach to mechanical exploitation (internal as well as external) with the same "liveness" of the furitama exercise connecting everything together.

What I want my arms and body to feel like and do is what they do like shaking wet noodles when I do furitama, but capable of action in reverse, also, and potenitally like cold taffy - fluid but initially very viscous when performing kihon technique or partner exercises. Then everything can flows like a slow motion waterfall. And water flows into gaps, doesn't it ?

On kokyu tanden ho, your partner attempts to apply a rotation to your body, through the arm or shoulder, typically, ultimately to topple you off your base of support and collapse you. Whether this occurs by a push, a grab or a punch is really only a matter of circumstance degree, and coordination of effort.

Unless one side is fixed, rotate any object and one side of ti experiences motion in one direction and the opposing side experiences motion in the other direction. Because of the mechanism of our bodies we move by rotating our limbs around joints. (We do not have any "trombone" mechanics. And the only hydraulics, well , ... just are not polite to talk about.) Each end of a limb tends to rotate one way when the other end is rotating the other, or esle we fix one end (usually with muscular restraint) and use the resulting additonal moment to generate power at the free end. But the potential of that tendency to rotate the fixed end of the limb segment remains and cannot be done away with.

If you fix one side or the other to a support then that side receives a moment against the support, and one can apply the pinned moment into an attack at the other side of the limb that is free to swing. If you "unfix" that support, the moment is then unstuck and "pops free" uncommanded -- removing the added moment it was contributing at the attacking side -- a road to kuzushi.

Looking from the other perspective, some portion of nage is, inevitably on either side of uke's connection inducing the rotation on you thus one side going one way and one side going the other -- in other words, as O Sensei said, you are already behind him. You perhaps just have not gotten top the point of perceiving that yet. Now like the fluid glacier -- flow throught he gap and burst the dam.

Take the kokyu tanden ho wrist grab. It illustrates that you are behind him at the moment of attack. Your whole hand is already, literally, behind his point of attack. The unschooled instinct is to resist the rotation (typically being applied down and forward from the top) into your forearm, by means of the stuff on "your" side of the attack. I, early on, neglected the fact that I am also on the other side of the attack, where my hand is. (Behind enemy lines so to speak and therefore capable of much mischief.) A basic bodyskill is therefore an awareness of what part of me at any given moment is placed where in relation to his actual or potential attack. Aikido looks for potential to exploit.

By rotating your hand, in the same direction but behind his wrist, he cannot resist, as you are "helping" his rotation at the wrist. The forearm/wrist joint is also pivoting down in front as the hand pivots up behind. By also giving way on the front by entering and turning under it, you also are entering even more fully from the rear. You are shifting his point of application more within your sphere of control, than his.

Your rotation behind his wrist also affects the rotation of the forearm at the elbow, since they are connected, and counter to the rotation that is necesssary to push against you ( abut since he is trying to rotate the other end, not really opposing him at all) That further saps the moment he his trying to generate against you. If he keeps pushing, that continued rotation from behind begins to affect the connection at the shoulder, ultimately un-fixing it and then all that braced moment at the shoulder/torso "pops" out --- and it's all over but the shouting.

Yes I know it's is kihon and I know it will be called waza, but the end of all this practice is to stop feeling the difference between his arms and yours and just "shake" them out -- easily (fast or slow) --just like his arms are your arms. And just like you feel the tekubi furi or furitama exercises, shaking yourself in the belly when you shake your own arms -- you literally touch his center in this same exact way. Mike's point is about focussing on the internal so as to preclude the external influence from operating. My training has taught me to make the external itself, internal to my operation.

Ikkyo relies on these same dynamics of what is before and behind the attack at the point of connecting with the attack. The feel of that placement, of the liveness of connection at that place and a rudimentary sense of what roads are open to you from that point are part of my understanding of basic skills.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-24-2007 at 02:35 PM.


Erick Mead
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