Muneta vs. van der Geest
For those of you who know me on Facebook, you've probably already seen this, but I thought there was some interesting stuff in this video that might be worth discussing.
I have a few specific points in the video I'd like to call out but first the disclaimers: I've certainly never felt this guy, I don't know anything about his training methodology and I am not asserting that he has "IT" or does "IT". I do think there are moments in this video that look like IT (which for me means DR-like Aiki powered by frame/structure/IP/fairy dust/whatever). There is also what I would call the aiKi of Aikido as most people use the term. I am using those terms descriptively the way I would use colors (red, blue) rather than one is good, one is bad. They're both good, they can both work (as you see in the video). They aren't mutually exclusive, but they are different terms. As always, not saying that's how it *should* be or always was, just recognizing the terms as they are used and to the best of my understanding.
So the breakdown.
1) First point, crap that's an awesome bout!
2) ~2:10 you see his body enter fully as a unit. He doesn't need to step and regain himself, his whole frame simply pops forward about a foot. Again, I'm not saying, "Yup, clearly IT" but I do consider a movement like that to be indicative of genuine frame/structure. I don't however think it's necessarily "Aiki" because of how the movement affects (or doesn't affect in this case) van der Geest. Hard to say on a video.
3) ~2:30 Here you see vdG basically bounce off of Muneta's frame, he comes in for a throw and hits a wall that sends him down. I think you could make the case that this indeed was Aiki. Frame affected the other person very dynamically. It's video, we'll never know, but it's interesting.
4) ~3:20 van der Geest is clearly leaning way forward but Muneta is nearly perfectly vertical. Yup, again, good indicator. Good stuff...
5) ~5:20 van der Geest pops in for a throw (makikomi?) and again bounces off of Muneta who is still fairly upright. He didn't need to sprawl to completely thwart vdG.
6) ~5:45 again we see vdG leaning way forward while Muneta is basically standing upright. The case could be made that Muneta is a lot shorter, and built like a shick brithouse, but there's at least the potential that there's something more going on here.
7) Here's where it happens! At around 7:15 Muneta loses his footing and goes down. Turtles up, ref calls it. As vdG is stepping over him, you can see him heel kick him in the back. Ooh, bad form old chap. Muneta pops up and immediately stomps towards vdG. Just as they're about to make contact, Muneta just disappears out of the way and directs cdG face first at the floor. Properly pasted, he proceeds to roll him back over. End of match. Brilliant! Just freaking brilliant! I don't however think of this as a good example of Aiki (DR-like frame based Aiki) but rather of aiKi as people generally use the term in aikido. He matched his timing, and managed to exaggerate mdG's entry force just enough to completely off balance him. Example of internal power/skills? No. Example of martial awesomeness? ABSOLUTELY.
- frame/structure does not equate to Aiki or aiKi
- Aiki is not always intrinsically better than aiKi
- aiKi can be done with Aiki, but being able to do aiKi does not mean that you have Aiki.
- aiKi can be martially effective
- never kick Muneta in the back, ever...