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Old 06-28-2006, 05:52 AM   #1
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 647
Sweden
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Extremely short students

Let's say there turns up an extremely short person in your class, for instance a woman with Turner syndrome. These ladies are very short, let's say this particular student is about 140 cm (tried converting it to feet with google but had little luck, maybe someone else can fill in?)

Do you teach her exactly like all the other students, although she most of the time will be doing her ikkyos and tenchinages on people who are at least 30 decimetres taller than her - a situation most other students encounter at times, but pretty seldom? Do you do adjustments for her? If so, what kind - of the actual techniques, or of something else in training?
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Old 06-28-2006, 06:57 AM   #2
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
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Re: Extremely short students

2.54 cm / inch. Divide into 140 cm which equals 55.12 inches. Divide by 12 and you get 4' 7".

I always tell students to bring the person down to your height not go up to theirs.
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Old 06-28-2006, 07:40 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Re: Extremely short students

My Sensei is only 5' tall. He has no problem bringing me (6'4") down to his size and throwing or pinning me.

We all need to learn and train with people of different sizes in order to learn to adjust our technique to them and the situation.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:10 AM   #4
Michael Young
 
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Dojo: Alamo City Aikido
Location: San Antonio, TX
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
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Re: Extremely short students

Train more hanmi handachi (you kneeling while your partner stands and attacks) to get a feel for what it is like for this person and what adjustments need to be made (and to help improve your Aikido in general). Aikido was created by a short person. O'Sensei was only 5 foot tall (152 cm)...from what I understand he was pretty good at it
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:27 AM   #5
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 643
Israel
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Re: Extremely short students

Different hight does require modifications of the techniques, any good teacher would know exactly which variation is better for which student, and which techniques might be very difficult for who (some techniques are easier for the shorter person, and few for the higher one).

I had sometimes demonstrated techniques from kneeling (while Uke stood up), to imitate a much shorter person, in order to assist a student in understanding the variation. I know this imitation is not perfect, but it is the best I could do. I think I once saw my sensei demonstrate this way when he wanted to clarify something, and I found this technique very useful.

Amir
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Old 06-28-2006, 10:46 AM   #6
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
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Re: Extremely short students

I'm finding two somewhat opposing things that seem to work against someone much bigger.

1) work at the edges of their balance, using a lot of leading, and maintaining a very large ma ai.

2) enter completely, and lock the joints and their center from underneath their center. (hanmi handachi kihon shihonage show this quite often)

Not sure that helps any. Actually, both apply to pretty much any situation in my experience...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:52 AM   #7
dunk
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6
United Kingdom
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Re: Extremely short students

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
Let's say there turns up an extremely short person in your class, for instance a woman with Turner syndrome. These ladies are very short, let's say this particular student is about 140 cm (tried converting it to feet with google but had little luck, maybe someone else can fill in?)

Do you teach her exactly like all the other students, although she most of the time will be doing her ikkyos and tenchinages on people who are at least 30 decimetres taller than her - a situation most other students encounter at times, but pretty seldom? Do you do adjustments for her? If so, what kind - of the actual techniques, or of something else in training?
My sensei (who is tall) always illustrates the same technique in Seiza when someone questions if a shorter person can excecute them, uke standing (Hamni Handachi) Generally with small modification it is possible.

If you are teaching you can practice to see how the technique works or is possible for shorter people
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:49 PM   #8
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
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Re: Extremely short students

One of my favorite Saotome anecdotes:

He's sitting in an airport when a professional basketball teams walks through the lobby. Drop-jawed he marvels, "Wow! SHIHONAGE, easy; IKKYO, difficult!"

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 06-28-2006, 03:06 PM   #9
sullivanw
Dojo: Portland Aikikai
Location: Portland
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 82
United_States
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Re: Extremely short students

From the little experience I have in Aikido, I would say that such a person would add depth to everyone's training. We had a short (about 5' or less) woman at our dojo, and it was very challenging to work with her. Helped me a lot in lowering my center. However, not being an instructor, I don't have any suggestions as to how to best deal with the situation. Except to train, and find out!

-Will
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Old 06-28-2006, 05:25 PM   #10
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
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Re: Extremely short students

A few things may just not work. I train with a smallish Asian nine-year-old, and having him attack me ushirodori is not reasonable; I end up wearing him like a cape *before* I even try technique. To do shihonage I need to drop to my knees, and even then it is difficult. You will need to be flexible about this. His aikido is quite good, however--his pins are particularly excellent--and if he is physically able to get in position to do a technique, I haven't yet seen one he can't do.

For "bear hug" attacks, if uke's arms will not go round nage, make fists and press them into the hollows of nage's shoulders instead.

For koshinage it may be best to start with the closest size-matched uke you can find and work up from there; initially I found trying to pick up larger people *very* intimidating. But I have been successfully picked up by nages half my size (I'm a medium-large woman) once they had enough practice and confidence. The low center of gravity can actually be a big advantage in koshinage. I train occasionally with a shodan who is about 5'2" and her technique is very efficient as she needs to do very little to get under my center.... She also has a charming way of entering irimi *under* uke's attack and throwing them while they are still wondering where she went.

If you do weapons, you may want to cut down a jo appropriately; we''ve done this for our kids' classes. A 4' jo in the hands of a 4' user is not really a jo anymore, more like a bo, and it is hard for them to make the kata work normally.

Mary Kaye
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:14 AM   #11
Joe Bowen
 
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Dojo: Yongsan Aikikai
Location: But now I'm in the UK
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South Korea
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Re: Extremely short students

Mary brings up a very good point. When you execute the technique on smaller people you must make sure you compensate for the height difference without compromising your center. Most folks when doing shihonage on a shorter person will naturally try to bend at the waist to match height, same with the initial motion into ikkyo. Just be mindful of the differences. Having trained for a number of years in Korea, where most folks are physically shorter than I am, I learned quickly that whether your executing the technique or having the technique done to you, height difference must be compensated. Having taught much shorter people, has provided me with great insight into how to deal with folks that are even taller than me (6'4").
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