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Old 02-20-2009, 09:18 AM   #1
Sy Labthavikul
Dojo: Aikido Academy USA of Alhambra
Location: Los Angeles area, CA
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Eyes Wide Shut

Last night we had a very interesting class: for most of it, sensei would have us practice jiyu keiko from various grabs (katatetori, ushiro ryotetori, etc) , then have nage continue but with their eyes shut, then have uke attack with their eyes shut (!).

It was a fun class, and we learned a lot. Obviously, we had to rely on our other senses (particularly proprioception and tactile sensitivity) to remain connected with our partners. I personally noticed in the face of the unknown, (i.e., can't see!!!), I had a tendency to speed up, which only made things that much harder. Even when blind, by slowing down dramatically I was able to better create and perform technique spontaneously.

As sensei put it, we had to not think of it as an attack anymore as "uke just told you where he is by grabbing you. That hand must be attached to something: go follow it to its source." By forcing us to shut our eyes, we couldn't really decide ahead of time what technique we were going to do: we had no idea what uke was doing. All we had was that hand to work with; invariably that lead to an arm to work with, an elbow, and we had to create something using what uke gave us. It was a great experience.

As for the times when were training as blind uke, we would grab first, then shut our eyes. The obvious lesson I guess was again tactile sensitivity, to feel what nage was doing and be ready to defend myself with ukemi as best as possible. And as nage performing a technique on a blind uke, it forced us to slow down again, this time out of compassion, which also improved our technique.

Has anyone else trained similarly, depriving nage or uke of a sense or resource? And what did you get out of the training?


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train as if the tengu will never visit, execute as if they already have
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

I personally love "blind" training and don't do enough of it. Thanks for the refresher Sy.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:00 PM   #3
Bob Blackburn
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

It is good training. Helps you relax and use other senses.

If some is throwing multiple strikes and you make contact on the first one, you know where the second one is coming from. It forces you to learn body mechanics. Usually to the point where you know better then your attacker where they are going to be (or try to be).

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Old 02-20-2009, 12:37 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

It is a practice I really enjoy. At times, when the circumstances seem safe on the mat, and my partner is attuned to working slowly enough, I do close my eyes.

Janet Rosen
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:39 PM   #5
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Thanks for the idea Sy! I read your post last night before leaving for the dojo, and as it happens the guy who was supposed to teach didn't turn up so I suddenly had to think of something to do for two hours. We did weapons for one and the last hour was first jiyuwaza from grabs with 1. tori with their eyes closed 2. uke with their eyes closed 3. both with their eyes open but trying to keep the same sensitivity going.

The thing I asked people to focus on was feeling which way uke's energy was going, letting it go that way, and seeing what technique would result from that, as opposed to thinking of a technique to do and then forcing uke into it.

The fun part for me was sneaking up to people and taking over uke's role without saying anything, some people didn't first realize that they suddenly had a different uke.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:04 PM   #6
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Sy:

I use practicing with one's eye's closed as a teaching tool to help students recognize that if their posture is good, their bodies will know how to move naturally through techniques, without unnecessary tensions. I then have the students practice with eyes open so as to feel how we misuse sight, resulting in our bodies stiffening, timing falling apart, connections fracture throughout the course of movement..... This can then allow us to place sight and movement within their proper realms so that we can actually move smoothly and connected throughout a technique.

Marc Abrams
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:55 AM   #7
Amir Krause
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

This type of practice is fun and most enlightening when learning to be soft and harmonious.

In most cases it only suits practice during grabbing situations (at least for Nage), though I have seen some people shut their eyes during slow "half randori" practice of one attacking freely (strikes too), Of course this latter only works if Uke understands the purpose of practice is not simulating a fight and is not too aggressive.

Amir
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:35 PM   #8
phitruong
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

we have a bunch of black cloth strips for blindfolds to be used for this sort of practice. it comes in handy when we need to line up folks by the wall.... i meant keep folks in line....uuuhhhh i meant working with folks on difficult concepts. ya that it!

have you try randori with blindfold, nage blindfolded, not uke (that would just be too funny)? various ushiro stuffs, bear hug, ear grab, nose hook, ... be creative on the attacks

even more interesting when you put various obstacles on the floor, a few jo here, a bokken there, banana peels, bed of nails, holes in the floor,... could be quite entertaining.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:24 PM   #9
bleepbeep
Dojo: kyokan dojo bacolod city/dale city aikikai, va
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Where I used to live, black-outs were common, and instead of ending practice, we used the lack of visibility to train without the lights to see, or just use a candle.

We didn't actually "train" but more or less "played" and fooled around with being blind and using aikido. Whenever we used a blindfold, it was more in a "game" format, to make it more fun. The kids in the dojo loved it and some creative escapes came out of those games, like hanging onto a wall .

One of the advantages of this kind of training for me is that I learned to trust what my body was feeling and telling me more. I think it develops more sensitivity to what your partner is transmitting also.
It's been quite a while since I've done this on the mats...
Thanks for reminding me.
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:38 PM   #10
Sy Labthavikul
Dojo: Aikido Academy USA of Alhambra
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Sounds like sensory deprivation is a training technique that a lot of people are finding useful.

Has anyone experimented with other forms of handicap (other than randori or weapons vs unarmed)? I was watching the movie Red Belt (which was an entertaining if absolutely implausible noirish movie about BJJ and MMA and honor and, I kid you not, Tim Allen), where an important plot point was a training method involving handicapping one of the participants: tying back an arm, or both arms, or a blindfold. Anyone do anything similar?


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Old 02-24-2009, 05:51 AM   #11
Alex Megann
Dojo: Southampton Aikikai
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Quote:
Sy Labthavikul wrote: View Post
Sounds like sensory deprivation is a training technique that a lot of people are finding useful.

Has anyone experimented with other forms of handicap (other than randori or weapons vs unarmed)? I was watching the movie Red Belt (which was an entertaining if absolutely implausible noirish movie about BJJ and MMA and honor and, I kid you not, Tim Allen), where an important plot point was a training method involving handicapping one of the participants: tying back an arm, or both arms, or a blindfold. Anyone do anything similar?
Years ago, Kanetsuka Sensei used to do this kind of training often - one time he came to teach at our dojo in Southampton, which is a windowless room, and all of a sudden the lights went out. I immediately assumed that someone was being mischievous, but then realised that Sensei had switched off the lights himself. We then spent the next fifteen minutes training in the dark. I would hear a clap, a voice calling "Alex!", reply "Hai", and weave my way across the dojo between the kneeling but invisible throng to where I remembered the source of his voice, and try to locate his wrists. It was typical of his sense of humour at the time that he would practise with me just as if the rest of the class were watching, and then ask the class to repeat what he had just "demonstrated"... I still like to practise with my eyes closed, as - as several people have already commented - it really helps with relaxation.

He taught using various other "handicaps" too - for instance sometimes we would practise standing on one leg to improve our balance, and I remember a couple of classes where we removed our belts and practised bokken kesa-giri with our elbows tied together to help relax our shoulders and coordinate our arms.

I suppose Kanetsuka Sensei's biggest use of "handicap" was when he was seriously ill with cancer about twenty years ago. I was travelling regularly with him in those days and he was physically very weak, sometimes too much so to be able to drive. Luckily his will-power brought him through that and he is still very much with us, but I think he learned a vast amount about not using physical strength from those awful times.

Alex
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:00 AM   #12
Bob Blackburn
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Quote:
Sy Labthavikul wrote: View Post
Sounds like sensory deprivation is a training technique that a lot of people are finding useful.

Has anyone experimented with other forms of handicap (other than randori or weapons vs unarmed)? I was watching the movie Red Belt (which was an entertaining if absolutely implausible noirish movie about BJJ and MMA and honor and, I kid you not, Tim Allen), where an important plot point was a training method involving handicapping one of the participants: tying back an arm, or both arms, or a blindfold. Anyone do anything similar?
I have trained with one arm tucked behind in my belt. Also carrying person leaning on you. This limits mobility even further. The only good thing is you can block your opponents with them because they are unconscious and you can tell them what happened later.

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Old 02-24-2009, 07:25 AM   #13
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

Quote:
Sy Labthavikul wrote: View Post
Sounds like sensory deprivation is a training technique that a lot of people are finding useful.

Has anyone experimented with other forms of handicap (other than randori or weapons vs unarmed)? I was watching the movie Red Belt (which was an entertaining if absolutely implausible noirish movie about BJJ and MMA and honor and, I kid you not, Tim Allen), where an important plot point was a training method involving handicapping one of the participants: tying back an arm, or both arms, or a blindfold. Anyone do anything similar?
I recall training with the lights off (but some external light allowed us to see shadows) in several occasions, including full two sided Randori (both particpents act as Tori/Uke without any rules and may attack\strike\kick in any form they wish and reverse techniques).

I can not forget a different occasions, during my short visit to Japan. Mt borther and me came to train with a teacher (only us - special lessons), and my left shoulder ached so I could hardly move that arm. So he decided we will train with one hand tied up that day and do everything one sided (part of that day we practiced Wakizashi techniques, which made it easier).

Also, here we often practice rolling with various stuff on us, from Jo / Bokken (easy and common place) to various punching bags much more okward).

I am sure there were some other situaitons I can not recall.

Amir
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:54 PM   #14
Leif Summerfield
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Re: Eyes Wide Shut

My absolute favorite is kokyu tanden ho with both uke and nage closing their eyes. You loose all visual cues as to what should work.
With enough training, all you feel is uke's center.
It's awesome!
Give it a shot.
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