Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido
About six years ago about 20 students from our dojo visited Iwama to train for 10 days with the late Saito Sensei at the Iwama dojo. The second technique we do every class after tai-no-henko is morote-dori kokyu-nage where uke grabs your arm with both hands in a strong grip. The Iwama dojo in those days was full of hugely powerful men who had been training with O-Sensei and Saito Sensei for decades, and when one of these guys grabbed your arm they caught it like a vice and locked out every joint from your elbow to your centre, immediately taking your balance.
The only way to do the technique against such an attack was the correct way – any other movement was futile. So you’d struggle to turn your hips and generate some kokyu power, and attempt to perform the technique and these guys would continue holding on and resisting the technique all the way to the ground. Each technique was a full body work-out to attempt to perform the technique correctly. And not just the initial kuzushi, but the entire technique all the way through.
It was a tremendous learning experience to try to find the line of least resistance against attacks of such power. At this level of training there was no speed involved – it was performed in slow motion and you had to learn the correct technique every inch of the way.
This is what attacking with a strong grip and resistance means to me. Of course this was only the first and most basic level of training, but I have never forgotten the difficulty and frustration of trying to work your way through and the lessons it taught my body.