Thread: Examples
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #6
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Examples

Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Thanks for responding, it helps me associate you with selected paths and approaches. What you are describing in your first post is much the same approach taken in my training back in the early 70's when I started and they are good tools. The idea of not contending over the point of conflict, here the grabbed wrist, is basic and central, though seeming very hard to learn and retain.

An addition to the wrist grab exercises you are describing above that you might try flexing your wrist and forearm prior to them grabbing you both of you are tense. Repeat this a couple of times. On the next round once they have a tight grip relax your wrist and forearm and check the response and reaction of the person grabbing as well as yours....what does your elbow do or how does it move and from how does your should react? You can then follow this by relaxing all the way back to your center and from your center outward to the ground. Releasing your wrist (as the nage), releasing the elbow, the shoulder and so on. It is relax, relax again, relax again.........and relax again. This of course leads to releasing before you get grabbed.

To me this is the start of practice that leads to all the other things you want to do with your Aikido. Relaxing is one the elements of arriving at an active spirit, active intent, active mind, fluid one body that leads to the levels of blending, leading and harmony that is your approach to Aikido.

Just a comment about Tohei Sensei. There was a connection between our instructor and Tohei Sensei from the 50's in Hawaii so back in the 70's he was in our dojo several times teaching an evening class...maybe 25 individuals on the mat. It was a regular Wednesday night advanced class. Tohei Sensei's techniques were fast, precise, and right on. I could feel the potential power and knew I had to get out the the way. He was also hard as a rock wall and grabbing his wrist was like hanging on to a 4" diameter pipe you could not stop from moving in any direction he wanted.

keep having fun
Hi Gary.
Glad you understood the gist of what I do. Thanks for taking the time to so do and your considered response.

On the releasing, tensing, releasing exercise, yes I agree. When the wrist is tensed and then relaxed the effect on uke is quite dramatic for them for their energy 'dissappears'. On this side, when doing it I get others to do versions of what you describe in as much as feel what the elbow can now do and awareness of other parts of the body and what they can do and the changes that happen in them due to this relaxation.

For example the hand, the fingers, tegatana, elbow, foot and knee, can all now lead freely. Another thing is that if you flow through the hand, especially tegatana then the uke feels the wrist as 'going solid' even though it is not tensed in the normal sense of tensed. I remember when I first posted a video how only one person seemed to realize what I was doing and commented on how I stayed relaxed no matter what, hence shoulders always down as they 'dissappear' for me. (mary Eastland was the one who noticed although she also advised me it would be good to have some commentary or more explanation, she was right)

When you say how the relaxing, relaxing, relaxing, leads to all all going to center and then from there releasing to the ground I fully agree with once again. This I do.

The fact of releasing to ground is the interesting point here. I found and indeed was introduced to this by my teacher many years ago. This led to what I called Koshi. He pointed out that as you let the energies go through center to the ground you will eventually become aware of a point at the base of the spine and that this point would also start to relax. It's also by the way where people tense up from and carry stress(apart from the shoulders and kneck) and thus so many back problems.

Anyway, as I developed this it turned from a relaxed point do what felt like an open door leading to a relaxed 'space' below me. This I call Koshi. It relates to gravity, it relates to advanced weight underside, it relates to tegatana and the feeling of a 'ton weight' in your hand or tegatana or even whole body yet from this end, the nage end, it feels like 'nothing'. Once again all to do with the taking of relaxation further and further.

There are many facets where the effect on uke is quite surprising from the viewpoint of nage, in fact quite opposite to what I expected at first. For example when I first turned and from ny view gave koshi TO my uke he bounced away with a woah!!! Now to me it was a 'nothing', a soft space , a soft 'low' space. Yet to him he said he felt like he ran into a solid brick wall.

These type of things give me a perspective when hearing others say how this person said so and so's wrist or body was 'hard as iron' when the person themself said they are using non resistance and soft. So when others translate this as dynamic tensions or this or that I see they are missing the point from my perspective.

I do take this one stage further however and say that when used to this kind of relaxation ability you can then learn how to do it in such a way that it makes the other relax and thus with all fight gone and only good feeling left they return to self and harmony. That's the goal for me and my Aikido.

With regards to your reply to Keith and the mention of Kotegaeshi once again I agree. I teach the hand should be turned back on itself rather than to the side. Ther is a good demonstration you can do her to show why. Hold something. Yes, hold a knife or a bottle or a small stick or something. Have someone apply a kotegaeshi to your hand in a skewed way, a twisting way, a to the side way. If you let their energy go into what you are holding you can 'cut' out or draw out or even pull out or the attempted action quite easily. If they do it as a circle, as a roll, turning the hand back on itself then you cannot and it works as you describe.

Nowadays I take that principle of the circle and when it comes to Kotegaeshi I just put the circle there and that's all. They run or move forward then their energy just goes round the circle and they fold. They try to do anything else then I bounce or drop the circle ie: drop the ball. That's the simplicity to me at this point in time.

Keep up the good work.

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