Re: Paul Kang Sensei Passes Away
Thank you George.
By the time I met Paul Kang, he had taken on a very different role than you describe, with a correspondingly different approach that remained remarkably consistent for as long as I knew him.
When I think back over 20 years of training with Paul, I very rarely saw him offer anyone on the mat a specific correction. But there are a few things that were at the core of what he taught, and when teaching at Bond Street, he very rarely strayed from these:
1. Keep your back straight.
2. Keep training with a comparatively long stance to build solidity for your first ten or twenty years. Later, you can shorten it.
3. Keep good form at the conclusion of throws and between throws.
4. Keep training basics.
5. Keep training.
But what I always found most consistently instructive was what he would often do in-between classes: simply take a single basic movement and attentively practice it over and over, while continually changing the angles and directions through which he worked.
Beyond that, there is a single phrase that I only heard him speak once, which has resonated for me ever since. In a class devoted to ukemi, while working on ukemi for ikkyo omote, he almost imperceptibly indicated an opening for uke to perform a double-leg takedown yet allowed nage to complete the technique without any resistance. Someone asked him about it immediately afterward and he said: "If you can't take ukemi while looking for openings in which reversals might occur without always taking the opening, maybe aikido isn't the martial art for you."
Now there's a thought worth mulling for a few years.