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Old 02-26-2014, 04:26 PM   #12
Dojo: River Valley Aikido
Location: Vermont
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 51
Re: YouTube: Christian Tissier - Belgium 2013

I have always admired Tissier Sensei's Aikido. It is strong and positive - beautiful actually. I really like how many of his smaller movements turn out to be just the visible portion of much bigger lines of movement. I think more us could do well to incorporate this essential idea into their Aikido.

I sometimes find it difficult to learn anything that sticks from watching Aikido videos but I actually did from this one.

Around 11:05 Tissier talks about practicing in slow motion and how it is important to preserve the dynamism of doing the movement at normal speed. I have never heard any one explain this before in this way (that I can remember) and I found it to be a valuable teaching.

I also liked the interaction with his uke that starts around 11:23. I could really identify with the uke in this situation. I have had that same baffled look myself when the teacher is trying to tell me something but my body (and probably my mind) is clueless. I am curious what the uke thought of this interaction later - if anything. It was only a few seconds long.

In this interaction, uke grabs Sensei's wrist in a ushiro attack and is then is drawn to nage's front. Because the movement is somewhat in "slow motion", uke just strolls into nage's space and receives a smack to the head for his efforts. He then has a second chance, and this is where he has that baffled look - "what am I supposed to do?". He opts (very intelligently from one point of view) to bail out of the situation. At that point you can catch Tissier's ironic "Merci!" and folded arms - meaning "Thanks - I didn't have to do any work this time".

I find it illuminating to watch someone else's learning process, especially when I see similarities to my own. It makes me think about how I might have done in that situation and what needs to grow in myself. Just to be clear - I am in no way impugning the abilities of the uke in the video. He is obviously skilled - probably more so than myself. He is, however, the one that made that part of the video interesting to me.

Once upon a time I had the experience of Tissier Sensei throwing me in a kotegaeshi three times in a row. I have come to regard kotegaeshi as really difficult technique to actually pull off – despite it being a really popular item in most people’s repertoire. Tissier, however, has developed a very compelling version. I found that I had to move at a very rapid rate in order to take the ukemi - for some reason I was convinced that if I didn’t stay with him that my arm would come off. Whether or not he would continue to throw my detached arm and pin it happily remains in the realm of speculation. In any case, I didn’t get the opportunity for a fourth throw.

Best regards,
Don Hebert
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