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Old 04-22-2002, 09:45 PM   #1
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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learning to learn?

Hi! Just had another aikido class tonight and felt even more lost and confused that I did my very first class! It was alot of fun though, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
Everyone is very helpful especially the higher ranks who are also very patient,(and very amused) One of my sempai was really helpful, if I did not do things right he just would not move or fall down, he would tell me or show me what to do and make me get it right before he'd move. It was very funny because if I got the footwork right I was not doing the right things with my hands and I was almost always off balance. I always seemed to get messed up right in the middle of the technique when he was arched backwards so he would hold that position while explaining what to do. I don't know how he does that it, is very uncomfortable.
It is very different than learning karate, and I don't just mean aikido is different but the learning process as well (osmosis maybe?). We kneel, watch, try, kneel, watch, try... I do not learn very well by watching, it is too confusing. I just cannot remember everything that was done. Can one learn to learn by watching?

Oh well, 2, 3 years I might get the basics.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-22-2002, 10:56 PM   #2
MaylandL
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241
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Hello Kat

Its good to know that you're enjoying aikido classes. Yes it can be confusing when you first start and training your body to do all things that its meant to do in a technique. In someways, your body also has to unlearn past conditioning. I had to unlearn the stilted movements of karate and kungfu when I started aikido.

Take heart, your movements will become more fluid and less stilted as time goes on. From my experience, aikido is as much patience as consistent and dedicated practice.

My apologies if this sounds cliched, trite or condescending (definitely not my intent), but what you are going through at the moment is very normal. I go through the same processes and actions when I learn a new technique when I visit other dojos who do a different aikido style or train at a dojo with a different sensei. Personally, its a wonderful feeling because I'm actually learning something new.

You're blessed to be at a dojo where the senior students take the time to train with you honestly and take an interest in help other students progress. It augurs well for your future training.

As for learning by watching. Yes you can learn something but it also requires doing and learning through cooperative practice. From what I've read of your post about the dojo you train at, I think you're well set up there. We also learn through making mistakes (and doing it right). ITs all part of the training process.

AS for taking 2 or 3 years to learn the basics. IMHO, I think its a lifetime process. I visit other dojos and cross train in other styles where I can. Other styles do their basics a little differently or provide a different perspective of basic techniques that I hadnt been shown or thought about. I dont mean to be disheartening for I think this is a good thing, because there will always be something that I can learn in aikido. I take heart and rejoice that after 9 years (and in comparison with others, I'm a baby aikidoka )of doing aikido, there's so much more to learn. IMHO, the journey of discovery about aikido is why I continue to train.

Hope this helps and happy training.

Mayland
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Old 04-23-2002, 08:31 AM   #3
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Hello Mayland,

I enjoyed your post, it did not sound cliched or trite or condescending at all, but was very encouraging. It is nice to be able to hear about other peoples experiences and what they've learned. Thanks for responding to my ramblings.
I agree that we are lucky to have such helpful seniors it makes the training very enjoyable indeed. I just hope they do not get frustrated with how slowly I learn. It is true too that we learn from mistakes, once corrected, in fact I think I often have a better understanding of something if I have done it wrong first, because when I am corrected it is usually explained to me why I need to do it that way. Hmm, considering how many mistakes I make I should be learning alot faster than I am.
The learning process is certainly fun, but I will be happy when I can at least do basic ukemi and can maintain my balance. It is so weird to be off balance like that all the time. I have no problems when I do karate techniques(I still practice karate some) but during aikido class I always seem to be leaning over my forward leg, over extending myself instead of shifting my stance and all sorts of silly things. I cannot understand how something so simple and necessary as good balance eludes me. I learned this stuff ages ago! Oh well it will eventually come back to me. I hope.

PS What is your weather like in Australia? It is snowing here today, SNOWING and it is april!

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-23-2002, 03:56 PM   #4
warriorwoman
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 50
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learning to learn

You have hit upon something in your first post Kat. You are learning to learn and that is a process which may take more time when training in Aikido than you originally expected. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that in Aikido, taisabaki (proper body positioning and movement)is perhaps more important than in karate. So if you are in the beginning stages of training in Aikido, alot of your attention will be spent in learning the correct movement. As others posted, the longer you train, the less disconnection there will be between your body and your mind and it will get easier - at least that part of it. The important thing is to keep going!
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org

janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org
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Old 04-24-2002, 12:40 AM   #5
MaylandL
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Hello Mayland,

...Thanks for responding to my ramblings.
Your welcome and I am glad that you found some of my thoughts useful.

Quote:


I agree that we are lucky to have such helpful seniors it makes the training very enjoyable indeed. I just hope they do not get frustrated with how slowly I learn.

From your previous posts, it sounds as though you have a great bunch of people at your dojo. I'm sure they get some benefit out of helping you do the technique. IT actually helps them visual how to do the technique when they have to show and explain it to others. I think there is alot of benefit from training with less experienced people for a variety of reasons that have been already noted in other posts (Training with Beginners).

Quote:

The learning process is certainly fun, but I will be happy when I can at least do basic ukemi and can maintain my balance. It is so weird to be off balance like that all the time.
That's understandable and I think we all want to do the best that we can. Please dont stress too much about it. It'll all come in time as your muscles gets use to doing the range of movements that aikido requires. I've found from experience that the more you concetrate and think about a technique and how to do it, the more difficult it becomes to do. My senseis and another godan said its more important to feel the technique than to consciously think about how to do it. I think what they me is not to over analyse doing the technique but to just do it and keep practicing it without consciously thinking about what to do right and what could go wrong.

Quote:

I have no problems when I do karate techniques(I still practice karate some) but during aikido class I always seem to be leaning over my forward leg, over extending myself instead of shifting my stance and all sorts of silly things. I cannot understand how something so simple and necessary as good balance eludes me.
You may wish to think about the differences and similarities in the range of movements that aikido and karate requires. It may be that the movements for both these martial arts are quite different and hence require you to acheive balance and posture in different ways.

I did karate for a short while (Shobukan I think it was called) and the movements were very stilted and linear. We would be practicing basic punches, elbow/knee strikes, kicks, blocks and stances. For the katas we would be in stance, step to stance, block, strike and repeat. The range of movements were no where as dynamic as the aikido I'm now practising. I'm not sure about the style of karate that you are practising or how long you've been practising for but it may be that there may be some fundamental differences in the way movements and posture is achieved between karate and aikido. For me I had to unlearn some of my past martial arts training (karate, kung fu and jujitsu) to do aikido. No great shakes, it was all part of the learning process.


Quote:

PS What is your weather like in Australia? It is snowing here today, SNOWING and it is april!
Wow...still snowing . Well its fine and cool (about 80 degrees F) on the west coast. We're heading into autumn (Fall I think you call it) and we're hoping to get some decent rainfall over the next few months or there will be some severe water use restrictions. The dams are at their lowest in 30 years . About 25% of full capacity.

Happy practicing

Mayland
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Old 04-25-2002, 07:10 AM   #6
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaylandL
[b]




That's understandable and I think we all want to do the best that we can. Please dont stress too much about it. It'll all come in time as your muscles gets use to doing the range of movements that aikido requires. I've found from experience that the more you concetrate and think about a technique and how to do it, the more difficult it becomes to do. My senseis and another godan said its more important to feel the technique than to consciously think about how to do it. I think what they me is not to over analyse doing the technique but to just do it and keep practicing it without consciously thinking about what to do right and what could go wrong.
Yes great advice, thank you,it worked well for me last night at class. It is much easier to not think about it and just let my sempai correct me when I am messing up. I also stay more relaxed when I do not think so much on how to do the technique.

Quote:
You may wish to think about the differences and similarities in the range of movements that aikido and karate requires. It may be that the movements for both these martial arts are quite different and hence require you to acheive balance and posture in different ways.
Yes, yes this is it exactly. It is amazing just how different these two arts are, especially as in both of them the power comes from your center, but it is accessed differently. Although, we were snapping the hips like it is done in karate for one throw.

Quote:
I did karate for a short while (Shobukan I think it was called) and the movements were very stilted and linear. We would be practicing basic punches, elbow/knee strikes, kicks, blocks and stances. For the katas we would be in stance, step to stance, block, strike and repeat. The range of movements were no where as dynamic as the aikido I'm now practising. I'm not sure about the style of karate that you are practising or how long you've been practising for but it may be that there may be some fundamental differences in the way movements and posture is achieved between karate and aikido. For me I had to unlearn some of my past martial arts training (karate, kung fu and jujitsu) to do aikido. No great shakes, it was all part of the learning process.
I am finding this part very difficult, one of the reasons I am having so much trouble with balance I suppose as I am trying not to do my karate stances. I do not wish to end up with a blend of aikido and karate, I want them separate otherwise I think I will miss alot of what is important in aikido.
Last night I found another problem with my karate training, we were taught never to lean back away from a punch or a stike as this would place you off balance,(disabling you from counter attacking or blocking) but that is one of the things we were supposed to do last night as uke when nage struck atour face. This was very hard for me and it isn't really something I want to get in the habit of doing but we needed to for practice. The other problem is we are expected, as the attacker, to follow through when we attack, to keep on coming, in karate we always had to be in stance before executing an attack. It is very difficult to keep karate out of this, much more so than I had anticipated.
Were you successful in unlearning your other martial arts? If you found anything helpful in doing so would you mind passing your tips on to me, I would really appreciate your advice. It has helped me quite a bit already,
Thank you very much Mayland.


Quote:
Wow...still snowing . Well its fine and cool (about 80 degrees F) on the west coast. We're heading into autumn (Fall I think you call it) and we're hoping to get some decent rainfall over the next few months or there will be some severe water use restrictions. The dams are at their lowest in 30 years . About 25% of full capacity.
Do you get droughts often? That would be awful, I spent a summer in England once during a drought, they were not allowed to water their gardens and were supposed have short showers and no baths. Being England though the drought did not last for too long.

Last edited by Kat.C : 04-25-2002 at 07:14 AM.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-25-2002, 12:10 PM   #7
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
Location: CT
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 205
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat C.
Last night I found another problem with my karate training, we were taught never to lean back away from a punch or a stike as this would place you off balance,(disabling you from counter attacking or blocking) but that is one of the things we were supposed to do last night as uke when nage struck atour face. This was very hard for me and it isn't really something I want to get in the habit of doing but we needed to for practice.
Hey there, Kat!
Are you sure you were supposed to be leaning to get away from the punch? I don't claim much experience, but I've been told specifically not to lean to avoid atemi or attacks, but to move my body instead. We worked on the same kind of thing a couple of weeks ago--proper spacing throughout technique so that you won't be hit, my sensei emphasising maintaining posture so that we wouldn't lean back to avoid the hands coming at our faces. I don't know if this is stylistic difference. <shrug>

Sarah
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Old 04-25-2002, 01:07 PM   #8
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arianah

Hey there, Kat!
Are you sure you were supposed to be leaning to get away from the punch? I don't claim much experience, but I've been told specifically not to lean to avoid atemi or attacks, but to move my body instead. We worked on the same kind of thing a couple of weeks ago--proper spacing throughout technique so that you won't be hit, my sensei emphasising maintaining posture so that we wouldn't lean back to avoid the hands coming at our faces. I don't know if this is stylistic difference. <shrug>

Sarah
Yes we were told to lean, we were supposed to pretend that we didn't know that the strike to our face was coming and to react as someone would if taken by surprise, by jerking their head back and arching their back. I can't imagine ever doing anything like that, but I have an aversion to falling,especially backwards,before karate I would just duck down and turn my head to the side. Actually I still do that now when my husband and I spar, I am too slow with my blocks sometimes. I should have mentioned that the the technique was added to later on, nage would bring their hand to uke's face and turn it slightly and push back and down forcing uke's back to arch. So I know why we were supposed to lean it's just that it is not natural for me and I am more inclined to drop down by bending my knees (if I can't move quick enough) and do a block than I am to lean back and take a fall. This was making things difficult not only for me but for nage as well, knowing what was going to happen I found myself preventing nage from doing this to me on occasion. It was completely unintentional and I apologised when ever it happened. No one got irritated, but a few seniors sped up the technique to stop me from doing this, they were nice enough to pause though before making me take the fall.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-25-2002, 04:21 PM   #9
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
Location: CT
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Oh, ok. I was talking about leaning as nage, rather than as uke. The point of this was probably just to work with reactions most people with no training would have if they saw a fist coming at their face: to lean back and get as far away as possible. I think it's good that you have a habit that allows you to avoid atemi, but remain on balance. Nothing to be sorry about; you're probably a better training tool for your sempai than someone that just does as they're told.

Sarah
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Old 04-25-2002, 05:10 PM   #10
deepsoup
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
Location: Sheffield, UK
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Yes we were told to lean, we were supposed to pretend that we didn't know that the strike to our face was coming and to react as someone would if taken by surprise, by jerking their head back and arching their back.
Hi Kat,

Sometimes you're asked to do things a certain way as Uke, to enable Tori (Nage) to perform a certain technique. You could think of it as roleplaying, so that your partner gets to practice dealing with a certain 'what-if' situation.

By the way, from your description of the technique, it sounds like the way we often do our irimi-nages, tenchi-nages etc. over in the Shodokan corner. In Shodokan terminology these are classified as 'atemi-waza', because they're essentially striking techniques. (The border line between striking Uke, pushing Uke and projecting through Uke gets a bit blurry. Do any of these techniques look like what you were doing?)

Hang in there with the fear of falling thing, it gets much easier over time, and its still early days yet.

Sean
x
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Old 04-25-2002, 08:50 PM   #11
MaylandL
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C

Last night I found another problem with my karate training, we were taught never to lean back away from a punch or a stike as this would place you off balance,(disabling you from counter attacking or blocking) but that is one of the things we were supposed to do last night as uke when nage struck atour face. This was very hard for me and it isn't really something I want to get in the habit of doing but we needed to for practice. The other problem is we are expected, as the attacker, to follow through when we attack, to keep on coming, in karate we always had to be in stance before executing an attack. It is very difficult to keep karate out of this, much more so than I had anticipated.
The dojo that I train at teaches a lean away from an atemi to the face as an application of basic technique or a self defence technique. Its usually accompanied by the use of the hands and forearms to deflect the atemi. The movement is always on posture and balanced because the followup techniques (ikkyo, iriminage, kaiten nage) cant be done off balance. I've actually had to use this method of evasion when I got jumped in the middle of the night while taking the garbage out.

Theres a clear distinction, IMHO, between basic technique to teach the principles of aikido and applications which may be used in a "self defence" situation.

As for over extending when striking - I absolutely agree. I was taught never to over extend and to start and finish an atemi on posture because the powr comes from being balanced and from the movement of hips (hmmm...in a way, not that different to aikido ). The way that you described the attack may be a way to allow tori to do the basic technique and train in the movement as opposed to a self defence situation. I'm not aware of your dojo's syllabus or teaching philosophy so its difficult to give some definitive comments.

Quote:

Were you successful in unlearning your other martial arts? If you found anything helpful in doing so would you mind passing your tips on to me, I would really appreciate your advice. It has helped me quite a bit already,
Thank you very much Mayland.
Yes and no. It was unlearning from the perspective of not doing aikido with a karate or wing chun persepctive.

For me, it was a matter of keeping an open mind about what I was being taught and not trying to analyse the technique (whether as tori or uke) from my previous experience and training and to treat the whole session with the "eyes of a total beginner". That is, one without any martial arts training and to just enjoy and feel what I was doing without any preconceptions about the effectiveness or otherwise of the technique and to just do it. Gods, this sounds like a bad Nike commercial

I still do this when I visit other dojos that train in different styles (yoshinkan and kokikai for example - I'm an aikikai aikidoka ).

As I've become more used to the aikido techniques and movements over the years, some of my previous training has crept back in. Like some of my atemis and deflections that I do with my hands and arms are reminiscent of the karate and wing chun that I did. Also, some of the boxer like weaves that I've done in randori are similar to the wing chun that I did. I think my aikido movements and posture is still aikido. Though there's still a lot more I have to learn.

I havent been able to keep them separate as such but become conscious not to judge the aikido techniques from "karate or wing chun eyes".

I hope this is helpful.



Quote:

Do you get droughts often?
We've had 2 years of below average rainfall. we're hoping that this autumn and winter will get some good rainfall. Its got to the situation where the government authorities are looking at water reclamation and desalination technologies.

All the best and happy training

Mayland
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Old 04-26-2002, 06:09 PM   #12
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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Quote:
Originally posted by deepsoup

By the way, from your description of the technique, it sounds like the way we often do our irimi-nages, tenchi-nages etc. over in the Shodokan corner. In Shodokan terminology these are classified as 'atemi-waza', because they're essentially striking techniques. (The border line between striking Uke, pushing Uke and projecting through Uke gets a bit blurry. Do any of these techniques look like what you were doing?)
At first I thought 'yes, this is what we were doing'! That was when I saw the first technique, but then I thought the same for the next two techniques and then after watching them for a while to see which one it was it ended up with me thinking that none of them looked like what we were doing. Then I got confused and couldn't remember what we had been doing.
Anyways, those three techniques are similar, but we only took one step off the line of attack and we used hip to throw, one hand on the side of the face and the other on the inside of the arm at the elbow.(I think)
Quote:
Hang in there with the fear of falling thing, it gets much easier over time, and its still early days yet.
Oh, I hope so. I have a hard time making myself fall, it is somewhat easier when working with a partner, well easier in that I don't have to force myself, they do it instead. I am hoping I will come to enjoy it, at the moment I get an awful panicky feeling when I fall.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-26-2002, 06:34 PM   #13
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaylandL

I've actually had to use this method of evasion when I got jumped in the middle of the night while taking the garbage out.
This may seem like a silly question, but why were you attacked while taking out the trash? Odd time for someone to rob a person, or was it just some lowlife wanting to smash someone around?
Quote:

Yes and no. It was unlearning from the perspective of not doing aikido with a karate or wing chun persepctive.

For me, it was a matter of keeping an open mind about what I was being taught and not trying to analyse the technique (whether as tori or uke) from my previous experience and training and to treat the whole session with the "eyes of a total beginner". That is, one without any martial arts training and to just enjoy and feel what I was doing without any preconceptions about the effectiveness or otherwise of the technique and to just do it. Gods, this sounds like a bad Nike commercial
Yes, it does sound like one, but it is good advice.
Quote:
As I've become more used to the aikido techniques and movements over the years, some of my previous training has crept back in. Like some of my atemis and deflections that I do with my hands and arms are reminiscent of the karate and wing chun that I did. Also, some of the boxer like weaves that I've done in randori are similar to the wing chun that I did. I think my aikido movements and posture is still aikido. Though there's still a lot more I have to learn.

I haven't been able to keep them separate as such but become conscious not to judge the aikido techniques from "karate or wing chun eyes".
Does anyone mind when you use attacks or blocks that are more like ones from your previous martial arts then what you've learned in aikido?
Quote:
I hope this is helpful.
Mayland, you have been very helpful indeed, so has everyone who has responded to my posts, thank you very much.


PS I hope you get lots of rain the next few months Mayland, I on the other hand am hoping for lots of sun.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-27-2002, 12:17 AM   #14
MaylandL
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C

This may seem like a silly question, but why were you attacked while taking out the trash? Odd time for someone to rob a person, or was it just some lowlife wanting to smash someone around?
Yes, my question exactly. I mean if he wanted 2 day old table scraps, used coffee grounds and smelly prawn (I think you call them shrimp) heads, all he had to do was to ask. According to the police, I may have surprised him while he was trying to break into my car

Quote:

Does anyone mind when you use attacks or blocks that are more like ones from your previous martial arts then what you've learned in aikido?
It tends to creep in during randori, in terms of deflection of attacks with my hands and arms or when I Atemi as part of a technique. As long as it doesnt conflict with the principles and techniques being taught, Sensei and sempais dont seem to mind. as long as Sensei can see that I am doing aikido and the technique enhances the practice of aikido, he doesnt seem to mind but he does make some comments

Knowing when to use other martial arts training and in what training situation only comes with experience and when you are familiar with different techniques. I sometimes experiment with techniques during randori and jiyu as a way to learn more. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt but its fun figuring it out

They also dont seem to mind as long as you, as Uke, give a sincere attack and for them to train effectively without being too compliant or resistant. Its a bit of a balancing act - its about being sincere without being difficult or resistant especially with people who are beginning their training.

As with all things its worthwhile talking to your sensei about it. From what you'bve already posted about your dojo, your sensei and sempais sound very approachable.

All the best for training

Last edited by MaylandL : 04-27-2002 at 12:25 AM.

Mayland
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Old 04-27-2002, 06:57 AM   #15
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
Location: CT
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat C.
, but we only took one step off the line of attack and we used hip to throw, one hand on the side of the face and the other on the inside of the arm at the elbow.(I think)
This is what we call sokumen irimi nage (don't know about what other styles call it). I can't find any links to a video of it, but it sounds like that's what you're describing.

Sarah

Last edited by Arianah : 04-27-2002 at 07:19 AM.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein
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Old 04-28-2002, 12:09 AM   #16
MaylandL
Location: Western Australia
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Hello Kat

Just got back from training after a very interesting session with establishing proper distance (maia) for techniques and the length of stances. One of the things that I have have to work on is to maintain the correct distance between nage and tori and the length of my stance. The distances and length of stances that I learnt in karate and wing chun are very different to those for aikido that I am now practicing. This is causing some conflict with the techniques and inhibits the effectiveness of the techniques.

The style of aikido that I do requires more "natural" and shorter stances than those I was taught when I did karate and wing chun. Also aikido requires more entering and distance closing movements than the karate that I learnt.

Of recent times there was something that was bothering about my aikido and this is part of it I think. Anyway this thread lead me to focus on this aspect of my practice.

Hopefully this might help you with your practice.

All the best.

Mayland
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