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Old 12-06-2002, 02:38 PM   #1
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Square "chess"-like cross training

Please excuse in advance the slightly long post. I've been stewing a bit of stuff in my head for a while. This is also (I think) the first thread I've ever started. Woo-hoo!

So I've started doing a little cross-training. Doing some Sayoc Kali (Filipino martial art emphasizing close-quarter knife work) and some (very informal) submission wrestling.

The wrestling involves a couple guys from work with varying levels of experience in some martial arts, but no groundwork training to speak of. I don't have any real training in it either, but through reading, watching video, and a lot of thinking about wrestling technique/strategy, yesterday I was able to get takedowns, positionally dominate, escape bad positions, and actually got a couple cross-arm-locks off, on guys who outweigh me, one by 30lbs or so. I was rather surprised at how well it went. I'm looking forward to finding some people with actual experience to really show me what's what!

The kali I'm doing we're not doing any sparring yet. But as we do our drills and patterns, after we learn the basic movements, we are constantly being shown _why_ the pattern goes like this -- this action is done because of this reaction, if he did that instead the alternative would be this, etc. Deeper and deeper levels of this kind. It's really like a chess match.

So the kali patterns are kind of like learning from a match between grandmasters -- the more we learn the more we appreciate. The wrestling is more like me and my friends playing chess -- a bunch of patzers, but having fun and learning as we go. And I find that I really enjoy this kind of chess-like interaction between players.

Now what I'm realizing is that martial art as "physical chess" is a major reason for my interest. And in aikido (exempting Shodokan -- I have no experience with it) the "chess-like" aspect seems somehow not as deep. We explore in kata fashion, but rarely do we investigate one technique from one position the way one would analyze a chess position. We work on the details of the technique, or connection, or taking center instead. And the jiyuwaza I've seen so far doesn't have the same feel as the attack/counter-attack of wrestling -- it seems as if uke isn't encouraged to really counter very often -- I have no doubt that some people do it, but I think it is sadly rare.

Not to say that this is necessarily _bad_. I would say, however, that it is something that I crave, and have actually in a sense been forced to find away from aikido.

Any thoughts welcome.

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